NBA Insiders Envision Rudy Gobert Trade If Unable to Agree to New Jazz Contract

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2020

FILE - In this Saturday, March 7, 2020, file photo, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) talks with guard Donovan Mitchell, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, in Detroit. Both players have tested positive for the coronavirus.  Gobert's test result forced the NBA to suspend the season. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson, File)
Duane Burleson/Associated Press

While the Utah Jazz would prefer to keep Rudy Gobert over the long term, his future with the franchise could come down to contract negotiations this offseason.

Tim Bontemps of ESPN reported the Jazz could explore trades for Gobert during the offseason if the two sides can't find an amenable long-term agreement. Gobert will be in the final year of his contract in 2020-21 and is eligible for a supermax deal.

It's unclear if the Jazz would be willing to sign Gobert to a supermax, which would pay him 35 percent of the salary cap beginning in 2021-22. The deal would have been for around $250 million over five years before the coronavirus pandemic hit. No one is sure of the pandemic's full financial effect yet, and it's unlikely the league will know the ramifications until there is a vaccine and business can return to normal.

There is a non-zero chance the Jazz and Gobert will wind up haggling over the middle ground between the max (30 percent) and supermax. Gobert is the two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year, but his inability to stretch the floor has led to postseason struggles. He's seen his numbers dip in the postseason each of the last two years.

The Jazz are also dealing with the potential falling out of Gobert's relationship with co-star Donovan Mitchell. The duo did not speak for a month after Mitchell was diagnosed with coronavirus. Gobert was the first NBA player diagnosed with the virus and was seen days earlier purposefully touching microphones to mock the disease.

Mitchell admitted in March that he needed to "cool off" after learning of his diagnosis. Utah will likely be offering Mitchell a full max rookie extension at the beginning of the offseason.