Shaquille O’Neal plainly does not like Rudy Gobert getting an extension bigger than even a max contract from the Utah Jazz.
During the offseason, Gobert sat down for talks with the Jazz front office regarding his future at the franchise. Gobert was technically eligible for a supermax extension, and his agent initially lobbied for it. But it became clear that the Jazz would not be willing to spend all that money on him.
Nevertheless, he got a contract that is the equivalent of the supermax Westbrook got at OKC. This indicates just how much the Jazz wanted to keep him, for such a deal hampers their ability to sign other free agents.
The Jazz also handed a max extension to Donovan Mitchell, although this one is a lot more justifiable. Mitchell was ballistic in the 2020 bubble playoffs, dominating the Nuggets all by himself. It took the Nuggets’ best efforts to hold the Jazz off and overcome a 3-1 deficit.
Shaquille O’Neal thinks Rudy Gobert does not deserve $200 million
Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal is well versed with NBA contract negotiations. He left Orlando for Los Angeles in questionable circumstances with a hint of tampering, signing a 7-year, $121 million contract in 1996. He did all he could to jeopardize the Lakers’ front office when talks of his next contract came up.
On the All Things Covered podcast, Shaquille O’Neal appeared to take shots at Rudy Gobert and Utah:
“I’m not gonna hate, but this should be an inspiration to all the little kids out there. You average 11 points in the NBA, you can get 200 million.”
This is a dumb take. Gobert isn’t on the Jazz for his offense. He is extremely dominant on the defensive end, that is what makes him elite. He is one of the top centers in the league. The jazz are very vulnerable without him. You will see. 2-DPOY @rudygobert27 @SHAQ https://t.co/wyxPMZxvc6
— TJ Davenport (@TylerJayDave) January 3, 2021
Shaq isn’t completely accurate about this. Over the past 3 seasons, Gobert has averaged over 15 points and 12 rebounds while playing DPOY-caliber defense. True, he has shortcomings on offense, and he even gets Hack-a-Shaqed a lot. But the Jazz had little to no chance of signing anyone better as a free agent. Giving homegrown talent the bag incentivizes them as a free agent destination as well as anything.