The Jazz‘s willingness to commit to paying building blocks like Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors has helped the team show signs that it will quickly rebound from its rebuilding project, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News details. Critical, too, was the deadline-day trade that sent Enes Kanter out, at his request, as the Jazz weren’t interested in paying a premium to keep him in restricted free agency this summer, writes Chris Mannix of SI.com. A greater focus on Favors and Rudy Gobert since then has paid dividends, as Mannix examines.
“[The trade] helped me work on my game a lot,” Favors said. “Enes was the first option in the post. Since the trade, it’s always been me. It’s helped me work on my game and made me better for it.”
Coach Quin Snyder downplays the connection between the Kanter trade and the team’s ascent in the standings, Mannix notes. Still, Utah was 19-34 at the deadline and has gone 12-3 since. There’s more on the Jazz amid the latest from the Western Conference:
- Jazz higher-ups are “positively giddy” about the future of Rodney Hood, as Mannix reports in the same piece. Utah selected Hood 23rd overall in June after the swingman spoke to Zach Links of Hoops Rumors last spring.
- The Clippers aren’t sure they’ll have Jamal Crawford back for the playoffs, according to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com. Crawford has missed the last eight games because of a bruised right calf that Doc Rivers has deemed a “serious injury” and one that won’t have him back “anytime soon, that’s for sure,” Howard-Cooper notes. L.A. has an open roster spot and Nate Robinson on a 10-day contract.
- The Spurs are keeping a close eye on draft-and-stash prospect Davis Bertans of late, as Lefteris Moutis of Eurohoops.net writes in a slideshow dedicated to the 10 European players who have the best chances of playing in the NBA next season. The power forward has a contract that runs through 2017 with Spain’s Laboral Kuxta (aka Saski Baskonia), as Mark Porcaro shows in our Draft Rights Held Players database, though it apparently contains NBA escape clauses for each year of the deal.