Derrick Favors

NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Southwest Division

Over the course of the 2019/20 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

If the Rockets and Mavericks make moves before the trade deadline, they’ll likely be looking to shore up their rosters in order to make a push to secure a top-four seed in the West. However, in today’s look at Southwest trade candidates, we’re focusing on the division’s other three teams, whose approaches to the deadline remain unclear. Let’s dive in…

DeMarre Carroll, F
San Antonio Spurs
$7MM cap hit; $6.7MM guaranteed salary in 2020/21; $7MM non-guaranteed salary in 2021/22

Nearly a month ago, Carroll acknowledged that he wasn’t playing as much this season as he expected to when he joined the Spurs last summer, and admitted that accepting his reduced role had been “difficult.” Since then, the veteran forward has appeared in four games, logging fewer than 15 total minutes.

There’s been no indication that Carroll has asked the Spurs to trade him, but given his lack of playing time and the team’s up-and-down play this season, it seems safe to assume he wouldn’t object to a change of scenery.

Carroll’s value has probably taken a hit due to his absence from San Antonio’s lineup and his small-sample struggles. The Spurs also aren’t historically very active on the trade market during the season — their last in-season trade was completed in 2014, and that Nando De Colo/Austin Daye swap wasn’t exactly a blockbuster.

With those factors working against a deal, Carroll will probably end up staying put through the deadline. But if San Antonio does make a move, a smaller-scale trade involving a player like Carroll seems more likely than a franchise-changing shake-up involving someone like DeMar DeRozan or LaMarcus Aldridge.

Jae Crowder, F
Memphis Grizzlies
$7.8MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

Crowder looked like a more logical trade candidate back on December 7, when the Grizzlies were 6-16 and seemed safely lottery-bound. For teams who perhaps couldn’t afford Andre Iguodala‘s $17MM salary but were seeking a playoff-tested three-and-D wing, Crowder and his expiring contract made all the sense in the world as a potential target.

Since then though, Memphis has won 13 of 19 games, jumping all the way up to No. 8 in the Western Conference, and Crowder has had a major hand in that resurgence, as no Grizzlies player has played more minutes so far this season.

Crowder’s play has earned him “renewed attention” from possible suitors, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. However, Hollinger doesn’t think the Grizzlies will receive an offer so strong that they’ll feel compelled to move him — especially since re-signing the forward at season’s end isn’t entirely out of the question. At age 29, Crowder isn’t necessarily too old to play alongside the franchise’s young core for a few more years.

Derrick Favors, F/C
New Orleans Pelicans
$17.7MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

Like Crowder, Favors is a veteran on an expiring contract who would fit right in on a contender and has been monitored by teams this season. But a handful of factors – including a recent hot streak, a close race for the West’s No. 8 seed, and Zion Williamson‘s impending return – all point toward the Pelicans deciding not to become sellers this winter.

After all, the Pelicans’ 9-3 stretch – following a 7-23 start – has pulled them within 3.5 games of the Grizzlies for that eighth spot in the conference, and selling off veterans now would dampen fans’ rising enthusiasm for the team.

Assuming the Pelicans plan to push for a spot in the postseason, Favors is the team’s most reliable option at the five, as he showed with his 21-point, 11-rebound performance in Thursday’s win over Utah. That’s not to say a trade is out of the question, as Favors is probably more likely to be moved than Jrue Holiday or J.J. Redick. But I get the sense that David Griffin would like to see what this squad can do when it’s fully healthy and may wait until the offseason to make any serious changes.

Revisit the rest of our 2019/20 Trade Candidate series right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2020: Southwest Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Southwest Division:

Derrick Favors, Pelicans, 28, PF/C (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $37.6MM deal in 2018
A power forward by trade, Favors has emerged as the Pelicans’ starting center. Over a nine-game span prior to Friday’s action, Favors posted six double-doubles while averaging 11.2 PPG and 14.4 RPG. With an expiring $17.65MM contract, Favors is a candidate to be dealt before February’s deadline. Favors left Friday’s game with a hamstring injury but as long as it’s not serious, he could be an intriguing rental. Several teams were already monitoring Favors prior to his recent productive run. Jaxson Hayes is the future center for the Pelicans and Favors doesn’t stretch defenses but his steady contributions will draw some attention in a weak free agent market.

Isaiah Hartenstein, Rockets, 21, PF/C (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.92MM deal in 2018
Hartenstein doesn’t get many opportunities but he puts up strong numbers when the Rockets are shorthanded in the frontcourt. In a three-game stretch in late December, Hartenstein averaged 14.7 PPG on 73% percent shooting and 11.3 RPG. In six G League outings this season, he has posted 21.3 PPG, 14.5 RPG and 4.7 APG in 33.3 MPG. The Rockets have a June 29 deadline to guarantee Hartenstein’s $1.66MM salary. It’s hard to see the Rockets letting the 21-year-old 7-footer walk away at that price.

Josh Jackson, Grizzlies, 22, SF (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $18.2MM deal in 2017
Following two troubled seasons with the Suns, Jackson was dealt to the Grizzlies during the offseason. Memphis decided to have Jackson work on improving his game and reputation at the G League level. The fourth overall pick of the 2017 draft has toiled there during the first three months of the season. Jackson was suspended two games for violating team rules last month, then went into an offensive funk until a 35-point outburst against the Iowa Wolves Monday. There’s no indication the Grizzlies have any interest in re-signing the unrestricted free agent this summer.

Ryan Broekhoff, Mavericks, 29, SG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $2.25MM deal in 2018
Broekhoff suffered a fractured left fibula late last month and is out indefinitely. Tough break — literally — for the Australian swingman, who wasn’t playing much anyway. He has appeared in 10 games this season, averaging 3.7 PPG in 7.7 MPG, after playing 42 games with Dallas last season in his first NBA campaign. Dallas would have to extend a $1.9MM qualifying offer to him in June to make him a restricted free agent. It seems likely that Broekhoff will return overseas next season to resume his career.

Jakob Poeltl, Spurs, 24, C (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $12.2MM deal in 2016
The Raptors’ 2016 lottery pick hasn’t really developed with a change of scenery over the past two seasons. Though Poeltl has made modest increases in his rebounding, assist and shot-blocking averages this season, his playing time remains limited to 15-20 minutes per game. The 7-footer doesn’t provide much offensively and has yet to develop a 3-point shot. He’s also a poor free throw shooter. San Antonio would have to extend a $5.1MM qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. That’s a reasonable price for a second-unit player but San Antonio may let him walk and seek an upgrade.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southwest Notes: Clemons, Moore, Favors, Barea

Chris Clemons‘ new three-year contract with the Rockets features a guaranteed minimum salary this season, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Since it’s prorated, Clemons will have a cap hit of $563K for the rest of this season if the deal is officially finalized on Friday.

MacMahon adds that Clemons’ 2020/21 salary will be non-guaranteed, while 2021/22 will be a team option — both years will also be worth the minimum. Assuming the rookie guard continues to impress and plays out his full contract with the Rockets, he’ll be on track to become a restricted free agent during the summer of 2022.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Following a victory in Portland on Monday, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry told reporters that he took the blame for limiting E’Twaun Moore‘s minutes in recent weeks (Twitter link via Scott Kushner of The Advocate). Moore, who started 36 games and averaged 27.6 MPG last season, has fallen out of the rotation at times in 2019/20, which is a contract year for him. He has averaged 11.5 PPG in 22.9 MPG in two games this week, both Pelicans wins.
  • The reintegration of Derrick Favors into the Pelicans‘ lineup has been another factor keying the team’s improved play as of late, writes Will Guillory of The Athletic. A free agent at season’s end, Favors could be a trade candidate this winter.
  • Mike Piellucci of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at Mavericks guard J.J. Barea and the work he has put in to make it back from an Achilles tear at age 35 when he could have easily called it a career.

Fournier Could Be On The Move

Magic swingman Evan Fournier is the player most likely to be moved before the trade deadline, according to an ESPN Insider report from Bobby Marks.

While there’s no indication Fournier is being shopped, a straw poll of NBA executives believe that the Magic will need to start exploring their trade options on the veteran, who is likely to leave $17.2MM on the table and opt out this summer. Orlando is currently battling for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Fournier is enjoying a career year, averaging 19.6 PPG and shooting 42.3% from long range.

Here are more nuggets from the ESPN report:

Southwest Notes: DeRozan, Brooks, Favors, Mavericks

The Spurs are off to a rough start this season. San Antonio currently sits at the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference with an 11-16 record. Head coach Gregg Popovich has been searching for answers all over the roster lately. This has included shaking up some rotational minutes.

During a tilt against Houston on December 16, Popovich pulled starting shoot guard DeMar DeRozan, the team’s highest earner with a $27.7MM salary this season, with 4:46 left in the game and the Spurs down 101-97. San Antonio had led by as many as 25 points in the first half. Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News notes that DeRozan’s disengaged body language while languishing during the eventual 109-107 loss on the bench was criticized.

Following the criticism, power forward Rudy Gay defended DeRozan’s reaction to the late-game benching, calling the two-time All-NBA selection a “competitor.” DeRozan did stay on the court late to help seal the Spurs’ subsequent game, a 118-105 defeat of the Nets on Thursday. Popovich substituted all starters with 47 seconds left and the victory sewn up.

There’s more out of the Southwest:

  • In his latest mailbag column, The Daily Memphian’s Chris Herrington touches on Dillon Brooks‘ value as a 2020 restricted free agent. Brooks, the 45th pick in the 2017 draft, has been solid in his third NBA season thus far. He has shown his mettle as a long-range shooter for the Grizzlies, connecting on 37.1% of his 4.9 three-point attempts a game this year. He can also defend at a position of need — albeit while getting into foul trouble. Herrington considers Brooks’ best fit on a playoff team to be as a bench scorer. Herrington hopes that Memphis waits out the market for Brooks, and exercises caution if offers from other teams venture significantly beyond the mid-level exception ($9.8MM annually).
  • ESPN’s Andrew Lopez (Twitter link) reports that Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry has lifted the team’s minutes restriction on starting center Derrick Favors. Gentry anticipates Favors playing 25-27 minutes. He has averaged 20.9 minutes a night in 14 games this season.
  • The Mavericks showed off their roster depth beyond starry headliners Luka Doncic (still out with an injury) and Kristaps Porzingis in a 117-98 road win over the Sixers last night. To be fair, Porzingis scored 22 points, pulled down 18 rebounds, and blocked three opponents’ shots. Still, Tim McMahon of ESPN notes that Tim Hardaway, Seth Curry, and even Ryan Broekhoff have had clutch moments for Dallas so far. “We have so many different weapons and so many different guys that can come in,” Porzingis noted after the victory. “I almost feel bad because we have so many guys that can come in, and sometimes they don’t get the opportunity.”

Injury Updates: Fox, Kuzma, Gordon, Favors, Vucevic

Kings star guard De’Aaron Fox has been out since November 11 due to a Grade 3 left ankle sprain but he’s hopeful of returning next week, as he told Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee“I have more range of motion now than I did before I got hurt,” he said. “My left ankle has just never had that much range of motion, but since we’ve been pounding it hard and going at it so hard, it’s been a lot better than before I got hurt.”

We have more injury updates:

  • Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma hopes to return from a left ankle sprain sometime during the team’s current trip, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin tweets. The injury is unrelated to the stress reaction he suffered this summer, McMenamin adds. Kuzma suffered the injury on Sunday and has missed the last two games.
  • Pelicans power forward Derrick Favors, a potential trade candidate, had eight points and eight rebounds in 15 minutes against Philadelphia on Friday. He had not played since November 16 due to knee and back injuries and personal issues.
  • Rockets guard Eric Gordon has begun on-court running, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. Gordon underwent knee surgery on November 13 with a projected six-week timetable. A return around Christmas remains in play, according to Feigen, though the plan is to gradually increase his workload and ease off as necessary.
  • Magic center Nikola Vucevic could return on Sunday, John Denton of the team’s website relays. He missed his 11th consecutive game on Friday against Houston due to a right ankle injury. “I think he’s feeling better and hopefully he’ll be able to get through a practice (on Saturday) and still feel good,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said. “I think there’s a good chance he’ll play on Sunday.”

Several Teams Monitoring Derrick Favors

With the Pelicans off to a 6-18 start to the 2019/20 season, veteran center Derrick Favors is one player being monitored by several teams around the NBA, writes Sean Deveney of Heavy.com.

Favors, 28, has been limited to just nine games so far this season due to knee and back injuries and the death of his mother. He rejoined the team this week, but won’t be active on Wednesday night as he continues to work on his conditioning after a lengthy absence, tweets Will Guillory of The Athletic.

Although there’s no indication yet that the Pelicans are prepared to become sellers in advance of February’s trade deadline, Favors would be a logical trade candidate if the team goes in that direction. The big man has been a reliable contributor for years and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, with a $17.65MM expiring contract.

“He was in Utah for just about all his career and it looks like he struggled to adjust in New Orleans and that is something you worry about,” one league executive told Deveney. “But look, he is a dependable big guy. He can play better defense than he’s played this season. He is a good rebounder. He can give you 12, 15 points. Defenses can’t afford to lose him, he can make you pay. There’s going to be teams looking for a guy like that. But if you’re New Orleans, you’ve got a young guy you want to have those minutes.”

As that exec notes, the Pelicans have a young center in Jaxson Hayes who may see even more significant minutes if the team falls further out of playoff contention. Additionally, Zion Williamson might spend time at the five once he’s healthy and ready to make his NBA regular-season debut. With Jahlil Okafor also in the mix at center, Favors could make more sense as a trade chip — especially if the Pels don’t expect to retain him beyond this season.

Given his struggles so far this season and his sizeable cap charge, the Pelicans shouldn’t expect a major return for Favors, Deveney writes. Still, it was just five months ago that New Orleans surrendered a pair of future second-round picks for the right to take on the center’s contract. If the Pels take back some money in a deal, they could reasonably ask for one or two second-rounders.

Derrick Favors Adjusting To New Team, New Role

This offseason was not the first time Derrick Favors had been traded. He came to the Jazz halfway through his rookie season via the Deron Williams trade. However, the big man said his move to New Orleans this offseason was easier than his move to Utah back in 2011, as he tells Tony Jones of The Athletic.

“It’s a difference of going from one city to another,” Favors said. “It was a little harder when I got traded to the Jazz, because I was still a teenager and I didn’t know much. Everything was new to me. It’s a little easier now because I knew more what to expect, and I’m grown up and mature. It will take some getting used to, but I’m in a good place physically and mentally.”

Favors became a cap casualty this offseason. The Jazz traded for Mike Conley and inked Bojan Bogdanovic to a four-year deal in free agency, which added a desperately needed scoring wing to the rotation. Those high-priced acquisitions forced the Jazz to shed salary, which made Favors – who is making $17.65MM this season – the cap casualty.

Despite having the opportunity to add Bogdanovic to their roster, some within the Jazz organization fought against jettisoning Favors, sources tell Jones. The Jazz valued Favors highly, though he’s arguably best suited to play the five. With Rudy Gobert on the squad and the team adding new pieces around their All-NBA center, Favors would have been a high-priced luxury that the Jazz simply could not afford.

Favors will join Jrue Holiday and a team of young, up-and-comers with the Pelicans. He should see more minutes at the five in New Orleans than he has at any point his career. Favors has never played more than 62% of his minutes at the center position in any season, but it would be surprising if that number doesn’t rise dramatically in 2019/20, since he should see the majority of his time alongside No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson.

On the court, Favors will provide a fundamentally-sound game for a team that has many raw parts. Off the court, he’ll provide leadership for a team that features just two players with more NBA experience than him (Holiday and J.J. Redick).

“It’s a new challenge and a new start,” Favors said told Jones. “I have no choice but to embrace it.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Pelicans Notes: Williamson, Griffin, Offseason

Pelicans players, coaches and executives alike are trying to shield phenom Zion Williamson from as much of the pressure and spotlight that comes with being the most-hyped player since LeBron James that they can, but it may be a futile endeavor, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

Vardon admits it’s an admirable strategy, to try to create an environment in which Williamson matures into an adult naturally, to the degree that’s possible as a professional basketball player. But it’s hard to convince people that this is Jrue Holiday‘s team when everybody and their mother at media day only wants to hear from Zion, even if it meant waiting after the Pels purposely didn’t bring him out until later.

“He’s still 19, a very young 19,” Pelicans’ Executive VP of Basketball Operations David Griffin said. “I think Zion is finding more comfort just with himself as a man, as a person. And that’s really important to us. We don’t have expectations that we are hoisting on him with the players. It’s really about finding himself, finding comfort with his teammates, finding his role and we’re blessed. All Zion wants to do is win.”

But whatever Griffin says, the NBA didn’t “put (the Pelicans) on national TV 30 times” because of anybody but Zion, and New Orleans knows this. So try as they might, the Pelicans probably won’t be able to protect Williamson from what’s coming at him this season.

There’s more news this evening from the Big Easy:

  • As training camp gets underway, William Guillory of The Athletic writes that the Pelicans’ uncertainty entering camp might be higher than it is with any other NBA franchise, as New Orleans only returns five of 20 players from last season’s roster – Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, Darius Miller, Jahlil Okafor, and Frank Jackson.
  • Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com explores how Griffin was able to make good on his promise to bring multiple, accomplished NBA veterans to New Orleans when he took over in April. One example? Griffin managed to bring in J.J. Redick, Derrick Favors, and Nicolo Melli, a trio that boasts a combined 30-plus seasons of professional experience.
  • ICYMI, Luke Adams took a look at how New Orleans was able to successfully transition from one franchise player to another in the span of a few months, among other Pelicans’ related tidbits, as part of our 2019 Offseason in Review series.

Southwest Notes: Diallo, Morris, Iguodala, Favors

Cheick Diallo was squeezed out of New Orleans due to a numbers crunch, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM tweets. The Pelicans didn’t want to lose the young power forward but they essentially had to choose between him and Jahlil Okafor, according to Gambadoro. New Orleans got three players back in the Anthony Davis deal, added three first-rounders including top pick Zion Williamson, and signed free agent guard J.J. Redick. New Orleans did not make a qualifying offer to Diallo, which made him an unrestricted free agent. He signed a two-year contract with the Suns.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Marcus Morris said he meant no disrespect when backed out of a verbal two-year agreement with the Spurs to sign a one-year contract with the Knicks, as he told Shams Charania of The Athletic“The first thing that I did when I knew I would be going another direction, I called and made sure they knew. There was no shade. There’s no disrespect,” Morris said. “I had great conversations afterward, and as long as I feel that I’m clear with them and gave them my truth, I feel good about moving forward. … I thought at the time that the Spurs deal was all that I had. The process wasn’t what I expected and it didn’t go the right way.” The way Morris’ free agent journey played out contributed to bad blood between the two organizations.
  • Andre Iguodala remains in limbo after getting traded to the Grizzlies, Charania reports in a video post. The Rockets, Clippers, Mavericks and Nuggets have all shown interest in the veteran forward. Houston and the Clippers are the top contenders but the Rockets have major luxury tax concerns while the only thing that would make sense for the Clippers salary-wise would be to move Maurice Harkless, whom they acquired from the Trail Blazers. However, the Clippers don’t want to ship out Harkless, Charania adds.
  • The Pelicans believe they can turn big man Derrick Favors into a bigger offensive threat than he was with the Jazz, William Guillory of The Athletic writes. Favors was acquired for two second-rounders in a salary dump by Utah. The opportunity to play alongside Jrue Holiday, Zion Williamson and Redick will facilitate the process. Favors will be utilized more often as a passer and be encouraged to develop his 3-point game, Guillory adds.