Now that Rudy Gobert has returned from after missing 11 games with a right tibia contusion, the Jazz should consider trading Derrick Favors, contends Brad Rock of The Deseret News. Favors played well in Gobert’s absence, averaging more than 16 points and nine rebounds per game, and has been more effective as a center than a power forward. They were on the court together for just three minutes during Gobert’s first game back. Favors is making $12MM this year on an expiring contract and could bring back a nice asset or two for Utah on the trade market.
“Favors has been terrific, obviously, in Rudy’s absence, and we will keep looking at ways to get Favors in the lineup as a [center], because that lineup has been good to us,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We’ve got to figure out how to continue to adjust with different lineups in the game.”
There’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Injuries also provided an opportunity for free agent addition Jonas Jerebko, who moved into the Jazz starting lineup with Gobert and Joe Johnson sidelined, notes Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News. He returned to a reserve role this week, but gained confidence from his time as a starter. “I’m feeling like I’m playing the best basketball I ever played,” said Jerebko, whose $4.2MM salary for next season doesn’t become guaranteed until July 9. “I put in the work this summer to do it so I’m just excited to be with the Utah Jazz and to be able to do it.”
- Snyder is among the believers that the Thunder’s mix of talent will eventually be successful, relays Mike Sorensen of The Deseret News. Early results have been disappointing in Oklahoma City after offseason trades teamed Paul George and Carmelo Anthony with Russell Westbrook, but OKC extended its winning streak to three games by beating Utah last night. “Any time you have a new teams it takes time to develop cohesiveness and an indentity,” Snyder said. “They’re a heckuva team. It’s a mistake to judge any team at this time of the year.”
- Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau will eventually put more trust in free agent addition Jamal Crawford, predicts Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Crawford has seen his minutes drop to 17.5 per game with Minnesota after averaging 26.3 with the Clippers last season. “I think things will change a little bit as we get used to each other, and this is having been together two months,” Crawford said. “I’m not sure Thibs has had a Sixth Man of the Year type guy [before] … so that’s different as well. I remember [Clippers coach] Doc [Rivers] told me that when I first [had] him … It was kind of the same thing – maybe not as extreme with the minutes, but just that he had to figure out how to do it.”