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Gobert, Jazz Reportedly Agree on Four-Year Extension

The Jazz and Rudy Gobert agreed to a four-year, $102 million extension.

Ben Dowsett

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On the final day for 2013 draftees to ink rookie extensions with their clubs, the Utah Jazz and center Rudy Gobert have reportedly agreed to a four-year, $102 million extension set to kick in next season. The news was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

Gobert, who was eligible for such an extension until 11:59 p.m. EST Monday night, would have entered the 2017 offseason as a restricted free agent had he and the Jazz been unable to reach an agreement. Gobert had previously indicated to local media members that he was willing to enter next summer without a deal. Given his very low cap hold due to being drafted at the back of the 2013 first round, the Jazz could have used the space they left open to try and sign other impact players before still retaining the Frenchman at a fair deal over their cap.

While locking in a deal now removes that potential space on their cap sheet, it also offers both sides relative security. The Jazz don’t have to contend with Gobert hitting the open market and potentially including poison pill details in his next deal, a reality that bit them a few years ago when Gordon Hayward was in a similar situation (as a result, they lost a year of control over Hayward when they matched an offer from Charlotte). Additionally, the Jazz are able to sign Gobert for slightly less than his maximum salary figure, a number he could easily have found on the market next summer. Gobert, on the other hand, locks in his payday as insurance for a career-altering injury or some other catastrophe.

Gobert, who averaged 9.1 points and 11 rebounds per game last season, has quickly established himself as one of the strongest interior defensive forces in the league since becoming a full-time starter for the Jazz under two years ago. His rim protection figures consistently rate at or near the top of the league among volume defenders, and ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus figures pegged him as a top-10 overall defender in the league on a per-possession basis last year after accounting for teammate and opponent context.

With Gobert locked down, it now remains to be seen whether the Jazz look to complete renegotiation-and-extension deals for Derrick Favors and George Hill, the two players eligible for such deals. Little has been reported regarding Hill down these lines, and it appears unlikely he and his representation would be willing to take such a deal simply because of how coveted the point guard could be on the open market when his contract ends after the 2016-17 season.

Favors’ agent told the Salt Lake Tribune last week that no deal was imminent for his client either, but that talks had at least taken place. Favors’ current contract would run out following the 2017-18 season if no extension is reached, though the possibility exists that the sides could revisit the topic next summer if they don’t get anything done by the Feb. 28, 2017 deadline to restructure the deals of Favors and Hill.

Ben Dowsett is a Deputy Editor and in-depth basketball analyst based in Salt Lake City. He covers the Jazz on a credentialed basis for Basketball Insiders, and has previously appeared in the Sports Illustrated and TrueHoop Networks. He can be found on Twitter at @Ben_Dowsett.

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

#28 – Jacob Evans – Golden State Warriors

Jesse Blancarte

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With the 28th overall pick, the Golden State Warriors selected Cincinnati Junior Jacob Evans.

Evans represents a solid pick for nearly any NBA team. Evans fits in the mold of a potential 3-and-D role player. Evans improved in his time at Cincinnati, culminating in his junior year, where he scored 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Evans spent three seasons at Cincinnati and rounded himself into a versatile two-way player who can bring a lot of value at the NBA level.

Evans is a very cognitive player, especially on the defensive end. He has a better grasp of his limitations than most players at this stage of their respective careers and is able to maximize his individual defensive ability within a team concept. Evans generally makes the right rotations, double-teams at the right times and funnels his opponents to where his teammates are when he cannot contain the ball-handler on his own. With the right coaching, he could become a valuable defensive wing in an NBA rotation sooner than some anticipate.

Additionally, Evans is more than just a shooter. He led his team in assists last season and has some skill as a playmaker. Evans will be more of a shooter and finisher in the NBA, but the ability to make the right pass, swing the ball when he isn’t open and take the ball off the dribble when necessary make him an intriguing prospect. This is especially true when you consider how valuable a player like Khris Middleton has become over the years, adding layers to his 3-and-D skill set each season.

The Warriors aren’t in need of an influx of talent but are happy to add Evans regardless.

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

#27 – Robert Williams III – Boston Celtics

With the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics have selected Robert Williams III.

Ben Nadeau

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With the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics have selected Robert Williams III.

Although there were early week rumors that the Celtics might try to trade up, they’ve ultimately elected to find a difference-maker at the end of the first round instead. For a team that nearly reached the NBA Finals despite debilitating injuries to Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, Boston’s roster didn’t need a wholesale change on draft night. But at No. 27, they’ll be more than happy to leave with the mysterious-but-talented Williams.

Last year, Williams was viewed as a potential first-rounder before he returned to Texas A&M for his sophomore year. In 2017-18, Williams averaged 10.4 points and 9.2 rebounds on 63.2 percent from the field, fueling the Aggies to a 22-13 record. During this current pre-draft process, Williams looked poised to become a mid-first-round selection once again — but his stock faded as the big night got closer. In fact, Williams even decided to watch the draft with his family, even though he was a green room invitee.

His stock has undoubtedly dropped as of late, but this may end up being the steal of the draft — naturally, he dropped right into general manager Danny Ainge’s lap. Williams, 6-foot-10, is a freak athlete that’ll bring a new look to an already fearsome defensive unit in Boston. At A&M, Williams won back-to-back SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors and averaged 2.5 blocks per game. Of course, he’ll get the opportunity to learn from the hard-nosed Al Horford, a five-time All-Star and the defensive linchpin for Boston — a win-win situation for all.

Williams, 20, joins an extremely young core in Boston that also includes Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Jayson Tatum, among others.

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

#26 – Landry Shamet – Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers select Landry Shamet with the 26th overall pick.

Dennis Chambers

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With the 26th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select guard Landry Shamet of Wichita State.

Shamet, if he is able to fulfill his potential, should provide the Sixers with some much-needed shooting, as their rotation was noticeably starved for another deadeye sniper.

A career 43.7 percent three-point shooter, Shamet sank 44.2 percent of his shots from downtown last season, and he did so while firing nearly six attempts from deep a game. Sliding Shamet at the guard position alongside franchise point guard Ben Simmons allows for another weapon at Simmons’ disposal.

Standing at 6-foot-5 and 21 years old, Shamet has the size to play either guard spot in the NBA (especially given Philadelphia’s lengthy and versatile lineup). Along with his shooting ability, Shamet also led the American Athletic Conference with 166 assists last season. With Markelle Fultz still a question mark for Philadelphia, Shamet provides a secondary ball-handler and playmaker, whether in the starting lineup or in the reserve unit.

The first round of the 2018 NBA Draft was a whirlwind for the Sixers, and they ultimately land two guards of very separate varieties: an upside-laden athlete in Zhaire Smith, and a skillful “veteran” rookie whose skillset is established.

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