The Jazz locked up one of their promising young players this weekend, signing Derrick Favors to a four-year extension for more than $49MM. The total could exceed $50MM if Favors cashes in on incentive clauses. GM Dennis Lindsey pointed to the 22-year-old’s defense, rebounding and youth as reasons why the team felt comfortable enough to commit more than $12.25MM a year to a player who’s never averaged as many as 24 minutes or 10 points a game.
Favors’ range doesn’t extend any farther than three feet away from the basket. He shot just 29% last year from outside that limited territory, as I pointed out when I looked at his extension candidacy in August. His offensive shortcomings were why I figured that Favors would see a deal similar to the four years and $44MM that the Bucks gave fellow defensive stalwart Larry Sanders in his extension.
Still, executives from around the league told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who broke the news of Favors’ extension, that Favors would have received multiple offers of contracts worth $13MM a year if the Jazz had let him hit restricted free agency next summer. Favors’ ability to finish 13th in the league in blocks per game last season despite playing just 23.2 minutes per contest no doubt intrigues many NBA decision-makers.
Lindsey said yesterday that he’s primarily focused on Favors’ defense, and that the Jazz are willing to wait for his offense to develop, as Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune notes on Twitter. Favors is set to become a regular starter for the first time in his career this season, so we’ll soon see how the Jazz mitigate Favors’ limited range when he’s on the floor for most of the game. Regardless of how it goes, the Jazz have already committed major money to a big man whose shooting percentage has declined each year since his rookie season. They gave up the chance to see how he performs this season and use it to gauge whether to re-sign him in free agency next summer.
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