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Donovan Mitchell signing max contract extension with Jazz


Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, amid a sophomore slump that followed a magnificent rookie year, said he was uncomfortable no longer being the underdog. Mitchell powered right through, becoming an All-Star last season and going on a historic scoring binge in the playoffs.

Good thing Mitchell has adjusted to elevated expectations.

Because they’re climbing even higher as he becomes a max player.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The exact amount of Mitchell’s extension won’t be determined until the salary cap is set next year, when the extension kicks in. The extension projects to be worth $163 million and would reach a $196 million projection only if Mitchell triggers the super-max.

He would do so by making an All-NBA team, winning MVP or winning Defensive Player of the Year next season. Which of those honors would qualify was a matter of negotiation between Mitchell and Utah.

Mitchell finished 10th among guards in All-NBA voting last season, falling short of the six All-NBA guard slots. As the 24-year-old enters his prime, he definitely could make an All-NBA team next year. It’s also possible making one would lift his salary above his production.

But that’s a risk worth taking for Utah.

Mitchell is a dynamic offensive creator on a defensive-focused team. He can get to the rim, shoot from beyond the arc and find open teammates. Plus, he defends better than many other high-scoring guards. Without him, the Jazz’s system stagnates. His intangibles – joyous attitude, committed work ethic, focused competitiveness – provide even more value.

There had been some question about Mitchell’s future with Utah due to a rift that emerged between him and Rudy Gobert following their coronavirus diagnoses. But Mitchell and Gobert appeared to get on a better page in the bubble.

Besides, Mitchell is the franchise player and priority. Young players just don’t reject max extensions, either.

Gobert is eligible for his own super-max extension this offseason. He already met the criteria. Though he probably won’t get the maximum-allowable amount, Utah could still extend him and keep both its stars for the long haul.


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