Darko Milicic and Shaquille O’Neal now have one point of common ground.
Milicic, the notorious ex-NBA bust, took a shot at Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert in an interview this week with European outlet 24 Sedam. In the interview, Milicic indicated that Gobert was massively overpaid, especially when compared to Denver Nuggets counterpart Nikola Jokic.
“We must be aware that money is the basis of NBA’s existence,” Milicic said, per EuroHoops. “If Gobert is worth that much money, then our Jokic should sign a contract for $500 million. That’s how much better he is than Rudy.
“For them [the NBA], marketing has always been in the first place and for the league to make it a show business as much as possible,” added Milicic, now 35. “Those numbers that are turning around today are simply unreal. Yes, a lot is spent and has to come back but to give so much money to someone is totally insane.”
Gobert, 27, agreed to a five-year, $205 million supermax extension with the Jazz over the offseason. He became eligible for the supermax as a Defensive Player of the Year Award winner and as a homegrown Jazz draftee who had accrued enough service time. Jokic, meanwhile, is in the third year of a five-year, $148 million max contract with Denver. For comparison, Milicic, who hails from Serbia like Jokic, made just $53 million in 11 NBA seasons.
It does sound like Milicic is striking while the iron is hot. Gobert just got embarrassed by Jokic in a recent head-to-head matchup, leading to some funny memes on Twitter.
Rudy Gobert is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, but he looked like anything but one during Sunday’s game against the Denver Nuggets.
Gobert and the Utah Jazz fell to to Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets by the final of 128-117. Jokic absolutely lit up Gobert, his matchup at the center position, for 47 points, including 22 in just the first quarter alone. Jokic also added 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and a block. Meanwhile, Gobert finished with only 12 points and eight rebounds.
Gobert promptly heard it from the fans on Twitter, who hit him with the meme treatment for his inability to hang with Jokic.
There is generally no shame in being humbled by Jokic, who is widely seen as the game’s best center, especially offensively. But Gobert is seen as the game’s best defensive center, so the fans were probably expecting a much more competitive matchup.
The Jazz had won 11 straight games before Sunday and are still the second-best team in the West at 15-5. That probably means that Gobert is not too torn up about his poor showing against Jokic. However, one of Gobert’s biggest haters will definitely have a field day with this one.
Rudy Gobert is trying his best to Eurostep around the shade that was recently thrown his way by The Big Aristotle.
In a podcast appearance last week, Shaquille O’Neal clowned Gobert for getting a big $205 million extension from the Utah Jazz in spite of Gobert’s perceived offensive deficiencies. O’Neal then doubled down on the remarks over the weekend by posting an edited picture of himself dunking on Gobert. O’Neal’s caption read that he would drop 45 points and 16 boards on Gobert and foul him out in three quarters.
Gobert responded to O’Neal’s comments in a tweet on Monday.
“There is no beef,” the two-time Defensive Player of the Year Gobert wrote. “If people wanna keep speaking negatively about me or keep discrediting what I do it’s on them and all that does is show who they are. I will always be happy for a brother beating the odds. And I’m gonna keep beating the odds.”
Gobert, 28, is largely seen as a defensive specialist (albeit an elite one). But he is quietly becoming a more well-rounded offensive player, averaging 14.5 points and 13.7 rebounds per game so far this season.
As for Gobert’s extension, it was the largest for any center in NBA history, including O’Neal. Perhaps that is what bugs O’Neal the most.
Rudy Gobert just received the biggest extension for any center in NBA history, and Shaquille O’Neal clearly has some thoughts on it.
Appearing this week on “All Things Covered,” O’Neal took a shot at Gobert over the recent $205 million extension he received from the Utah Jazz.
“I’m not gonna hate, but this should be an inspiration to all the little kids out there,” said O’Neal of Gobert’s extension. “You average 11 points in the NBA, you can get $200 million.
“The silver lining is he is a great agent, and I’m happy for him and his family,” O’Neal added about Gobert. “With the new rules, you have a pot of money, and you have to spend that money. I’m happy for him, but this is a moment for a lot of kids who think they can’t make it.”
Gobert, 28, is indeed a career 11.8-point-per-game scorer. But he is also a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and may be the game’s best center on that end of the floor today. Additionally, the Jazz are a small-market team, meaning that they essentially have to overpay to keep their stars as they are not much of a destination for marquee free agents (as O’Neal alluded to).
As for O’Neal, a four-time NBA champion and career 23.7-point-per-game scorer, the most he ever made in a single season was $27.7 million. That is in contrast with the $41 million average annual value Gobert will be making over the life of his new five-year extension. Of course, it is a very different economic landscape in the NBA now. But Gobert is far from the only big man in today’s game that O’Neal has clowned.
H/T AHN Fire Digital
Rudy Gobert is now over nine months removed from his coronavirus diagnosis, and he is finally speaking about the notorious incident that preceded it.
In a lengthy interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters this week, the Utah Jazz center addressed the infamous episode where he mockingly touched all the microphones at a press conference just days before his diagnosis.
“That it came from a good intention,” said Gobert. “It was the first day that we found out that the media was not going to be able to interview us, right next to us. You know, we obviously didn’t know as much as we know now. I only did that to try to liven the mood a little bit. Of course, if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t do it.”
On March 11, the All-Star big became the first NBA player to be diagnosed with the virus. That led to the suspension of the season and a resumption over four months later in the Orlando bubble. Many Jazz teammates felt Gobert had been careless, including Donovan Mitchell, who later tested positive for the coronavirus as well.
Gobert would apologize for his carelessness a few days later and has since appeared to make peace with Mitchell. He also just signed a massive $205 million extension to remain with the Jazz. Gobert now has the benefit of hindsight, and it is clear that the incident and its fallout are far behind him.
Rudy Gobert supposedly turned down a max contract extension offer from the Utah Jazz recently because he was insisting on getting the supermax, but the two sides have reached a compromise.
Gobert told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon on Sunday that he has agreed to a five-year, $205 million extension with the Jazz. He called the contract an “incredible blessing.”
“It means that they believe in me,” Gobert said. “They believe in what we’ve been building over the years with this whole organization, with coach [Quin Snyder] and all the guys.”
Gobert was eligible to sign a supermax extension worth $228 million, which is the same contract Giannis Antetokounmpo signed with the Milwaukee Bucks last week. One report claimed Gobert was holding out for the supermax, but he claims that was not the case. The 28-year-old says he wanted to take less than the supermax to give Utah flexibility to build a championship contender around him and Donovan Mitchell.
Gobert is widely considered to be one of the best centers in the game. He’s an elite defender and became eligible for the supermax by being named the Defensive Player of the Year twice and making the All-NBA team.
Now that Gobert has signed an extension, the rumors of at least one team being interested in trading for him can go away.
Rudy Gobert is entering the final season of his contract with the Utah Jazz, and the big man has until next week to agree to an extension. Unless he and the team can find some middle ground, Gobert may be headed for free agency next year.
Gobert is eligible for the supermax extension, which is worth up to 35 percent of a team’s salary cap. He became eligible by being named the Defensive Player of the Year twice and making the All-NBA team. While previous reports indicated he would be willing to take less than the supermax, Porter Larsen of ESPN 700 says Gobert has asked for supermax money and is taking a strong stance.
The normal max extension would be 28 percent of the salary cap, so there is a significant gap between that and the supermax. It’s possible Gobert and the Jazz could settle somewhere in the middle, especially since Utah is the only team that can pay him anything close to 35 percent of the cap.
Gobert is widely considered to be one of the best centers in the game, and he is certainly an elite defender. However, calling him a supermax player is a bit of a stretch. The Jazz don’t want to lose him, but you can understand why they don’t want to pay him as much as the Milwaukee Bucks are paying Giannis Antetokounmpo.
We know of at least one team that might have interest in trading for Gobert, so that’s another option the Jazz could explore if the two sides can’t come to an agreement.
Joel Embiid is getting himself ready for another season of clowning on opposing big men.
After the team began training camp this week, the Philadelphia 76ers center had funny trash talk about Utah Jazz counterpart Rudy Gobert. Embiid was going against new Sixers center Tony Bradley, who played for the Jazz last season, in practice on Saturday.
“This ain’t Rudy,” Embiid told Bradley, per Justin Grasso of SI.
While Gobert is perhaps the NBA’s best defensive center, he remains fairly limited offensively. Embiid, for his part, is an elite low-post scorer with range on his jumper out to the three-point line, so that was probably the basis for the trash talk.
The 26-year-old All-Star Embiid thrives on beefing with rival centers. He has gone after Gobert before in the press as well.
The Dallas Mavericks could be poised to add some more size to their frontline this offseason.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe said in an article Thursday that several rival executives have pitched Dallas as a possible trade destination for Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. Lowe notes Gobert, 28, is eligible for a supermax. He also says the thinking makes sense for the Mavs to acquire a rim-running, defensive-minded center. Lowe does voice skepticism though about Dallas potentially committing $65 million combined to Gobert and Kristaps Porzingis.
While Porzingis is one of the tallest players in the NBA at 7-foot-3, he has a very different skillset from Gobert. Porzingis generates most of his offense from the perimeter and is agile enough to defend in space. Gobert plays around the basket offensively and is arguably the league’s top rim protector.
Beyone Porzingis, the Mavs mostly rely on Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell (both 6-foot-10) in the frontcourt. 7-foot-4 Boban Marjanovic is more of a limited-minute player. Gobert, an All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, would be a tremendous fit. The league may also be trending towards bigger lineups after the Los Angeles Lakers won this year’s championship, in large part by dominating the interior.
As for the Jazz, they have a decision to make with Gobert, who will be a free agent after the season. Some reports suggest that Gobert sticking around in Utah for the long run may ultimately be untenable.
Monte Morris thinks that his opponent may be busting out the ol’ Andrew Bogut Special.
On Thursday, the Denver Nuggets guard called out Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert for setting dirty screens in their first-round playoff series.
“I don’t think all of them are legal,” said Morris of Gobert’s screens, per Mike Singer of the Denver Post.
Morris has been getting extended run in the backcourt in the continued absence of Gary Harris and Will Barton for the Nuggets. That places him squarely in the crosshairs of Gobert, who regularly sets screens to free up the likes of Donovan Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson.
The series is currently tied at 1-1 with Denver getting routed in Wednesday’s Game 2 by a Jazz side still without Mike Conley. As for Gobert, he does not seem to be particularly well-liked by opponents. His screen-setting tactics could be part of the reason why.