Derrick Favors

Jazz Rumors: Conley, Niang, MLE, Porter, Gay

The Jazz remain on track to finalize an agreement on a three-year contract with Mike Conley once free agency officially opens tonight, reports Tony Jones of The Athletic. Previous reports have indicated that Utah is the strong frontrunner to bring back Conley and that the team is preparing a three-year offer in the neighborhood of $75MM for the veteran point guard. Based on Jones’ report, it sounds like that hasn’t changed and a deal could be in place later today.

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • League sources tell Jones that free agent forward Georges Niang is highly unlikely to return to the Jazz, since he’s unrestricted and is expected to draw significant interest from rival suitors.
  • Even though the Conley signing will take them well over the luxury tax line, the Jazz are willing to use the taxpayer’s mid-level exception (worth about $5.9MM) in free agency, writes Jones. However, the team won’t use it just for the sake of using it, and will want to land one of its primary targets.
  • Otto Porter and Rudy Gay are among the free agent forwards on Utah’s radar, according to Jones. However, Jones hears that Porter may be leaning toward the Nets, while Gay is believed to be eyeing the Lakers.
  • Following up on Utah’s trade that sent Derrick Favors to Oklahoma City, Jones reports that Favors will meet with the Thunder‘s front office on Tuesday. That meeting is expected to determine whether Favors sticks with OKC or whether another trade could be forthcoming. It’s worth noting that the Jazz wouldn’t be permitted to re-sign Favors if he were bought out by the Thunder, though a buyout is unlikely anyway since he has two years left on his contract.

Northwest Notes: Wolves, J. Butler, Mudiay, Favors

The Timberwolves‘ second stint with former No. 5 overall pick Ricky Rubio wasn’t the fairy tale reunion either side hoped for, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic in a breakdown of the team’s trade with Cleveland and what it means for the Wolves moving forward.

While the Wolves are receiving solid three-and-D wing Taurean Prince as the return for Rubio, Krawczynski writes that Prince isn’t viewed as the solution to the team’s long-running search for a starting power forward, but rather as a rotation wing.

One benefit to the deal is an added $4.8MM in cap flexibility, which could allow the Wolves to use their entire taxpayer mid-level exception while possibly adding last year’s first round pick Leandro Bolmaro as well. Kracwzynski writes that the team explored trades into the draft and for Hawksforward Danilo Gallinari, but in the end were satisfied with the return of Prince.

We have more news from around the Northwest Division:

  • Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune details the Jazz‘s excitement upon trading down in the draft to land Baylor guard Jared Butler with the 40th pick, as well as two future second rounders. Butler, whom Utah was initially targeting in the first round, is viewed as someone who can play off the bench immediately, or even fill in should the Jazz lose Mike Conley to free agency.
  • Veteran point guard Emmanuel Mudiay will play for the Trail Blazers during Summer League, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The former No. 7 pick has bounced around the league since being traded from the team that drafted him, the Nuggets, to the Knicks in 2018, but the 25-year-old will be looking for a chance to get his career back on track with a strong showing in Las Vegas.
  • Derrick Favors was caught off-guard by the trade that will send him from the Jazz to the Thunder,writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. “Honestly, I’m still trying to process what happened,” Favors said. “It was tough to go to New Orleans, but I thought that there was a chance that I would come back to Utah. Now, I know this is it. So, there’s a lot to think about and a lot to work out.”

Jazz Trade Derrick Favors To Thunder

11:58am: The Thunder have officially confirmed the trade, announcing in a press release that they received Favors and a future first-round pick in exchange for a 2027 second-rounder and cash.

Oklahoma City likely took on Favors’ contract using the $10.1MM trade exception it had available from last year’s Danilo Gallinari trade. The Jazz will create a new $9.26MM trade exception in the swap.


7:10am: The Thunder and Jazz are in agreement on a trade that will send Favors and a future first-round pick to Oklahoma City in exchange for a future second-rounder, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Utah is sending its 2022 first-round pick (top-six protected) to Memphis in another deal, so the first-rounder going to Oklahoma City figures to be in 2024 or later due to the Stepien rule.


6:40am: The Thunder and Jazz are engaged in serious talks on a potential trade that would send center Derrick Favors from Utah to Oklahoma City, according to Shams Charania and Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Favors, 30, signed a three-year contract with Utah last fall and posted modest numbers in his first season back with the team after a year in New Orleans. Favors averaged a career-low 5.4 PPG to go along with 5.5 RPG and 1.0 BPG in 68 games (15.3 MPG). It was his first NBA season in which he didn’t start a single game.

Favors’ contract isn’t especially onerous — he has a $9.7MM guaranteed salary for 2021/22, followed by a $10.2MM player option for 2022/23. However, it’ll likely be considered a negative asset given his dip in production last season and the fact that the Jazz are facing a serious cap crunch. If Utah re-signs Mike Conley and doesn’t dump any salary, the team will face a substantial tax bill next season.

As a point of comparison, when the Pistons agreed to send Mason Plumlee to the Hornets on Thursday, Detroit moved down 20 spots in the draft to do so (from No. 37 to 57). Plumlee was more productive in 2020/21 than Favors and is owed less guaranteed money going forward.

The Thunder are no strangers to accommodating salary dumps, having used that approach multiple times to add to their stockpile of future draft picks within the last couple years. They could take on Favors without sending any money back to the Jazz by using one of their trade exceptions or by opening up cap room once the new league year begins.

It’s unclear what sort of asset the Jazz might attach to Favors to get a deal done. There were rumors earlier in the week that they were discussing possible trades involving the big man and the No. 30 pick, but a 2021 selection is less likely to be involved now that all of those picks have been made. As such, Utah and Oklahoma City may be discussing a future draft asset.

O’Connor’s Latest: Nuggets, Grizzlies, Warriors, Kings, Hornets

Within his latest mock draft, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer confirms a few items we’ve heard elsewhere in recent days. According to O’Connor, Jalen Green‘s workout with the Pistons last week was “outstanding,” the Jazz are willing to attach the No. 30 pick to Derrick Favors in a potential trade, and league sources widely expect Scottie Barnes to be the Magic‘s pick at No. 5.

O’Connor also reiterates that the Rockets continue to explore moving up to No. 1 and says the Thunder have made efforts to trade up, with Green, Cade Cunningham, and Evan Mobley among their presumed targets.

Here are a few more notes of interest from O’Connor’s latest article:

  • League sources tell O’Connor that the Nuggets are trying to move up from No. 26 into the top 20, dangling young bench players or future draft assets in those talks.
  • Although O’Connor confirms that the Grizzlies are interested in Josh Giddey after trading up to No. 10, he says Memphis could try to move up even further, with an eye on Jonathan Kuminga or James Bouknight.
  • Giddey, Kuminga, and Bouknight could also be in the mix for the Warriors at No. 7, according to O’Connor, who says Giddey is thought to be one of Golden State’s “main targets.” O’Connor adds that Keon Johnson‘s ceiling may be the Warriors’ pick at No. 7.
  • The Kings continue to be active in shopping the No. 9 pick, Buddy Hield, and Marvin Bagley III in separate trade scenarios, per O’Connor.
  • League sources continue to connect the Hornets, who will be seeking a center this summer, to Myles Turner, Richaun Holmes, and Nerlens Noel, according to O’Connor.

Fischer’s Latest: Simmons, Beal, J. Richardson, Jazz, Kemba

Having claimed earlier in the week that the Sixers hadn’t really been able to get in touch with Ben Simmons this offseason, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report clarifies in his latest article that the team’s brass has maintained contact with Simmons and his representatives. However, the 76ers have been “unable to collaborate” so far on a summer development plan for the former No. 1 pick.

Although league executives who have spoken to Fischer speculate that the Sixers may try to hang onto Simmons in the hopes that Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard will eventually ask out of Portland, the “overwhelming” expectation is that Simmons will be dealt before the start of the 2021/22 season. Of the early discussions Philadelphia has had about the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up, talks with the Raptors are thought to be the most advanced, Fischer adds.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • As Bradley Beal continues to weigh his future with the Wizards, there’s a growing expectation around the league that the All-Star guard might still decide he wants to stay in D.C., says Fischer.
  • The Mavericks have explored trade scenarios involving Josh Richardson, according to Fischer. Richardson still has to make a decision on his $11.6MM player option for 2021/22, but if he opts in, his expiring contract represents a logical trade chip if Dallas wants the flexibility to make a run at a top free agent.
  • After previously identifying Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles, and Royce O’Neale as potential trade candidates if the Jazz look to trim team salary, Fischer now says O’Neale is likely to stick around, but Bogdanovic and/or Ingles could still be moved. Utah has also explored the possibility of trading Derrick Favors along with the No. 30 pick, Fischer adds.
  • The Thunder‘s front office believes it should be able to flip Kemba Walker for assets this summer if his medicals are good, according to Fischer (Twitter link). Walker’s contract, which has two years and $73.7MM left on it, isn’t favorable, so Oklahoma City would likely need to take on an equally bad deal – or multiple unwanted contracts – in order to acquire assets with positive value.

Northwest Notes: Favors, Thunder, Clarkson, Rubio

Longtime Jazz reserve big man Derrick Favors spoke extensively with Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune about his past and sunny new future with Utah, noting that he wasn’t surprised when Utah sent him to the Pelicans for future draft equity during the 2019 offseason to clear cap space for incoming point guard Mike Conley‘s contract.

“I wanted to be here,” Favors said. “I wanted to stay. I thought I was going to stay. But it was because of the money, the business side.”

The Jazz could have declined their $18MM team option on Favors for the 2019/20 season, but the Pelicans were happy to pay that sum in full upon making a deal. “If Utah would have waived me, I would have lost a lot of money, but they ended up trading me, and I’m blessed and thankful that New Orleans was willing to pick up that option for me,” Favors noted.

Favors’ Pelicans teammates raved about his fit within the club’s locker room and on the court. “Nothing but respect for D-Fav,” New Orleans guard Lonzo Ball said. “We know he did all the little things that we needed to win games.”

Favors was excited to get another opportunity in the 2020 offseason with the Jazz, who were all business in their recruitment.

“They literally just said, ‘Hey, you want to come back? We want you, here’s what we’re offering. Do you want to take it or not?’ It kinda felt like that!” Favors noted. “I didn’t want to waste my time or waste an opportunity… and I knew with Utah that they had other guys that they wanted to go after if I didn’t commit, so I didn’t want to waste Utah’s time.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • The Thunder will likely receive inquiries on just about every player on their roster, as team president Sam Presti looks to acquire even more future draft picks, but Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman thinks veteran role players like George Hill, Al Horford, and Mike Muscala could be next in line to be dealt.
  • Jazz reserve guard Jordan Clarkson, the current favorite for 2021 Sixth Man of the Year honors at present, has taken a massive stride in his scoring output — but the growth of his passing deserves recognition, too, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. “It’s just another growth part of my game that I’m trying to keep improving on,” Clarkson said.
  • After a rough start to the 2020/21 season, Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio has turned things around in the month of March, so much so that the 30-year-old vet has become a potential trade chip for a Minnesota team that now may not want to deal him away as the deadline looms, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. A reinvigorated Rubio seems to have developed great chemistry with No. 1 2020 draft pick Anthony Edwards and (former No. 1 draft pick) Karl-Anthony Towns.

Southwest Notes: Vassell, DeRozan, Tucker, Pelicans, Redick, Bledsoe

Spurs swingman DeMar DeRozan is helping to teach rookie Devin Vassell the nuances of the NBA game, Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express News writes. Vassell was selected with the 11th overall pick in the draft and also plays on the wing. “A lot of times, even in practice, he comes to me and asks questions,” DeRozan said. “That’s big for a young guy to to be able to come to our vets and just ask questions, ask what he is doing wrong, what he can do better.” Vassell had 12 points, six rebounds and three steals in 24 minutes during his preseason debut.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Seeking an extension, Rockets forward P.J. Tucker says he wants to go “where I am wanted,” Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Tucker promises to “do my job” even if the club doesn’t offer him an extension. Tucker, who will make approximately $7.97MM this season, will enter unrestricted free agency next summer.
  • The Pelicans’ acquisition of center Steven Adams from the Thunder and subsequent decision to give him an extension was a head-scratcher, John Hollinger of The Athletic opines. They could have instead acquired a better shooter in Al Horford or re-signed Derrick Favors. They also would have been better off holding onto George Hill, rather than dealing him in the same multi-team trade involving Denver and Oklahoma City, Hollinger contends. Hill is a better shooter than Eric Bledsoe and New Orleans also has enough depth at the point, Hollinger adds.
  • Bledsoe will have to pass a series of tests before he can rejoin the Pelicans, coach Stan Van Gundy told The Athletic’s Will Guillory and other media members (Twitter link). Bledsoe left the market due to a personal matter and missed a COVID-19 test. J.J. Redick was held out of the team’s preseason game on Monday due to contact tracing.

Northwest Notes: McLaughlin, Jackson, Pokusevski, Bogdanovic

Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders said today that the team hopes to add another point guard to its depth chart behind D’Angelo Russell and Ricky Rubio, tweets Jon Krawczysnki of The Athletic.

While Saunders didn’t explicitly name him as the player the Wolves want to bring aboard, restricted free agent Jordan McLaughlin is the most obvious candidate for that role, Krawczynski notes. McLaughlin, who was on a two-way contract with Minnesota last season, is the only RFA who has yet to secure a new deal for 2020/21.

The qualifying offer McLaughlin received from the Wolves last month is for another two-way deal, but he and the team are likely trying to negotiate a standard contract that would give him a spot on Minnesota’s 15-man roster for the regular season.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Frank Jackson‘s two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Thunder has a partial guarantee worth $250K for 2020/21, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. The second year of Jackson’s new deal is non-guaranteed.
  • Several reports leading up to the 2020 draft linked Aleksej Pokusevski to the Thunder, but the Serbian forward was still surprised to be drafted by Oklahoma City at No. 17, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. “Before the draft we didn’t have any contacts,” Pokusevski said. “I didn’t talk to anyone. I was shocked that I was chosen at No. 17 and drafted to OKC. I was shocked. I didn’t know that it was going to happen, and I was very happy about it.”
  • Jazz forward Joe Ingles is looking forward to playing with center Derrick Favors again, writes Aaron Falk of UtahJazz.com. “He’s obviously a guy I feel super comfortable playing with,” Ingles said of Favors, noting that the two veterans played a lot of minutes together during the big man’s previous stint in Utah.
  • Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic (wrist) practiced in full this week and looks to be on track to play in the team’s regular season opener, says Tony Jones of The Athletic.

Jazz Notes: Gobert, Favors, Bogdanovic, Azubuike

Asked today during a media session about the possibility of signing Rudy Gobert to a contract extension in the coming weeks, Jazz executive VP of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey declined to offer any specifics, but suggested the team would be happy to get something done.

We don’t comment on past, present or future negotiations, but we love Rudy,” Lindsey said, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon (Twitter link). “We want Rudy to be here for the rest of his career.”

Tony Jones of The Athletic, who has said repeatedly that Gobert and the Jazz are actively discussing a new contract, reiterated that point today (Twitter link).

Gobert is eligible to sign an extension anytime before he reaches free agency during the summer of 2021, though if the Jazz are willing to give the All-Star center a super-max deal starting at 35% of the cap (which seems unlikely), they’ll have to get it done by December 21.

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • Lindsey said today that the Jazz’s decision to bring back Derrick Favors in free agency was motivated by feeling undersized defensively last season against teams with multiple big men, such as the Lakers (Twitter link via Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune).
  • Bojan Bogdanovic‘s recovery from wrist surgery is progressing well, according to Lindsey, who said the team will decide in about a week whether the veteran forward is ready to progress to contact workouts (Twitter link via Walden).
  • Addressing Utah’s decision to use the No. 27 pick in the draft on Udoka Azubuike, Lindsey said the team took the “best player available” route (Twitter link via Walden). The Jazz’s analytics models ranked the former Kansas center as the second-best prospect in the draft, while the club’s scouts ranked him in the top 10, Lindsey added.
  • Tony Jones of The Athletic provides a training camp primer for the Jazz, discussing Gobert’s contract situation, Donovan Mitchell‘s new extension, and the club’s goal of getting back into the top 10 for overall team defense in 2020/21.

Northwest Notes: Favors, Thunder, KAT, Nnaji

Jazz reserve center Derrick Favors didn’t need much convincing around before deciding to return to Utah, per Eric Walden of the Salt Lake City Tribune.

“I just came to the decision: ‘You know what, man? It feels better going back to Utah,’” Favors said in a Wednesday afternoon Zoom conversation. “Utah is like a second home to me — I’ve been there since I was 19, [since] around 2010. It just felt right. So once they came with the opportunity, I jumped on it.” 

Favors inked a three-year, $27MM contract with the Jazz to back up All-Star center Rudy Gobert at the start of free agency. Favors previously spent 8.5 seasons with Utah before being dealt to the Pelicans last season. He averaged 9.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, and 0.9 BPG in 24.4 MPG during the 2019/20 season.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Besides Maurice Cheeks, who already left for a job with the Bulls, Brian Keefe and Vin Bhavnani are the only Thunder assistants not returning to be part of Mark Daigneault‘s new coaching staff, notes Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman. The Thunder previously announced Daigneault’s group, which will include former Knicks interim coach Mike Miller.
  • The Timberwolves are playing a delicate balancing act, as they strive to keep star center Karl-Anthony Towns happy while taking pains to improve the team’s roster long-term, as Jim Souhan of the Minnesota Star Tribune details.
  • New Nuggets rookie forward Zeke Nnaji hopes to become a lockdown defender in Denver, Sean Keeler of the Denver Post reports. “My ultimate goal is to be able to guard one through five consistently,” the 19-year-old out of Arizona said. “I want to be a lockdown defender no matter who I’m guarding. But the biggest thing right now is working on that three through five and just being versatile, no matter what role I’m playing.”