Northwest Notes: Favors, Bjelica, Malone

Derrick Favors had started only eight games the season before he signed his four-year, $49MM-plus extension with the Jazz in 2013, but GM Dennis Lindsey tells Adi Joseph of The Sporting News that the team wasn’t worried. Lindsey credits Favors with having patiently waited his turn to inherit a major role.

“The present screams while the future whispers,” Lindsey said. “And many of those contracts, you do have to project. But Derrick gave us a great sense of calm with how he’s handled himself as a player and as a person.”

Lindsey added that he considered supplementing the team’s playoff push this season with a veteran free agent addition or a splashy trade but decided against it when the right player didn’t emerge, entrusting Favors and the other members of the team’s youthful core with taking the next step this season. While we wait to see if they can, see more on the Jazz and their Northwest Division rivals:

  • Favors wasn’t initially sold on Utah, but that’s changed, as he said to Joseph for the same piece. “I didn’t expect to stay [long term], no,” Favors said. “Utah was so different, I was so new to it. I didn’t expect to stay. But as the years have gone on, I’ve grown to love it. I got used to it. I just started feeling comfortable. I like how calm and chill it is in Utah. It’s a good thing and it’s a bad thing. The bad part is, maybe after a big game you want to go out and hang out or whatever, and there’s really not too many spots like that in Utah. Down here, you could go anywhere. Out in Utah, it’s chill, laid-back. There’s not a lot of rah-rah stuff going on. You can focus on your job, your career, whatever else you have going on.”
  • Nemanja Bjelica will fight for minutes at a crowded power forward position as a rookie this year, but the Timberwolves draft-and-stash signee figures to earn his share of playing team, and he’s capable of becoming a star in the NBA, opines SB Nation’s Liam Boylan-Pett. His performance in this week’s Eurobasket tournament has provided glimpses of why he can succeed at the NBA level, as Boylan-Pett examines.
  • The addition of coach Michael Malone is one of the few moves that the Nuggets have made recently that seem to have struck the right chord, writes Shaun Powell of in his 30 Teams, 30 Days series.

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