Derrick Favors

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.”

Northwest Notes: Favors, Adams, Nuggets, Murkey

Even though he was a good fit in New Orleans, Derrick Favors missed playing for the Jazz, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. Favors spent more than eight seasons in Utah before being traded last summer to free up cap space, so he was thrilled to get the opportunity to return.

“The history behind everything that came with playing for the Jazz meant a lot to me,” said Favors, who agreed to a three-year deal Friday worth about $27MM. “I made my career there, and I grew up in Utah. There were different teams that showed interest. But I wanted to make the best decision for myself and my family.”

Favors will return to a different role, Jones notes. He was a starter for most of his time in Utah, but he will be used primarily as a back-up center and power forward, though he may start some games against smaller teams. The Jazz had other options if they couldn’t sign Favors, Jones adds, including at least two players who were starters last season, but they couldn’t play both positions.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

Jazz Sign Derrick Favors To Three-Year Contract

NOVEMBER 25: Favors’ new deal with the Jazz is now official, per the NBA’s transactions log.


NOVEMBER 20: The Jazz and center Derrick Favors are reuniting, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the two sides have reached an agreement on a deal.

Jones says the three-year pact will be worth about $27MM, with a third-year player option (Twitter link). That suggests that Utah is using nearly its full mid-level exception on Favors.

The Jazz and Favors have been linked for several weeks, with Favors spending time in Utah from 2011-2019. The team traded him to New Orleans last year in exchange for 2021 and 2023 second-round picks.

This past season, Favors averaged nine points, 9.8 rebounds and 24.4 minutes per game with the Pelicans, starting in 49 of his 51 contests. The veteran big man was drafted third overall back in 2010 after spending one season at Georgia Tech.

For Utah, Favors is expected to provide frontcourt production behind the likes of Bojan Bogdanovic and Rudy Gobert. The Jazz lost a grueling seven-game series to Denver in the first round of the 2020 NBA playoffs, playing without Bogdanovic due to injury.

Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw contributed to this report. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agency Rumors: Whiteside, Favors, Clarkson, Bertans

The Kings have interest in free agent center Hassan Whiteside, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said today on The Jump (Twitter link via Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee). James Ham of NBC Sports California confirms (via Twitter) that he has heard similar whispers, though he cautions he’s not sure how serious that interest is.

Here are more free agency rumors:

  • Free agent center Derrick Favors is expected to have contact with his current team – the Pelicans – and his old team – the Jazz – as free agency opens, league sources tell Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link). Other teams will also kick the tires on Favors, Jones adds.
  • The Jazz are making re-sigining Jordan Clarkson their top priority in free agency, tweets Tony Jones.
  • The Wizards are meeting with Davis Bertans as free agency opens, according to Chris Miller of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link). Re-signing the stretch four has long been considered Washington’s top priority this offseason.

Western Notes: Pelicans, Nuggets, Jazz, Ivey

The Pelicans are hiring former Cavaliers director of coaching analytics Michael Hartman to lead their analytics department, according to Shamit Dua of Bourbon Street Shots (Twitter link).

Hartman was promoted last summer after spending the previous two seasons as the Cavaliers’ basketball analytics coordinator. Under his new title, he helped the Cavs with player development and coaching strategy using a data-driven approach. He also worked with current Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin in Cleveland.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Kendra Andrews of The Athletic opines that the Nuggets need to stay patient in their pursuit of an NBA championship. Denver had a magical run in the bubble that saw the team overcome two separate 3-1 deficits (Jazz and Clippers) and ultimately fall a few games short of an NBA Finals appearance. Andrews observes that the Nuggets’ roster-building approach has them on the same trajectory that helped Golden State become a dynasty.
  • In her latest mailbag, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News explores which free agent reunions with former Jazz players are realistic this offseason. One player frequently mentioned is Derrick Favors, who was traded away last summer to the Pelicans. However, Todd believes that – despite there being a mutual interest between Utah and Favors – he could be out of their price range. Jae Crowder, Justin Holiday, Wesley Matthews, and Jevon Carter are among the other free-agent options mentioned.
  • As the Thunder begin their head coaching search, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman makes a case for why Knicks player development coach Royal Ivey deserves consideration. He notes that Ivey is a former player for OKC and spent a few seasons as an assistant coach with their G League affiliate and the Thunder. Along with Ivey, Mussatto also makes a case for former UConn head coach Kevin Ollie to be the next head coach in Oklahoma City.

Jazz Notes: Favors, Bench, Draft, G League

The Jazz and Derrick Favors have mutual interest in a reunion, but that doesn’t mean it’s a sure thing, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. Favors spent most of the past decade in Utah before being traded to New Orleans last summer to clear cap room so the Jazz could sign Bojan Bogdanovic. Favors averaged 9.0 points and 9.8 rebounds this season as the Pelicans‘ starting center.

The 29-year-old is willing to accept a reserve role behind Rudy Gobert, Jones adds, and would likely sign for the mid-level exception. However, the Jazz must decide if that’s the wisest use of their MLE, which is their best hope for adding another wing who can hit 3-pointers and play defense. That need was evident in the playoffs, when Utah didn’t have anyone who could control Denver’s Jamal Murray.

“We lost some defensive integrity, some activity, some deflections,” executive VP of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey recently told reporters, including Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune, in recapping the season. “… Anybody who has defensive integrity at their position, can be an active, athletic defender, will be someone that would be of interest to us, especially if they don’t compromise the spacing.”

There’s more Jazz news to pass along:

  • Utah could be looking at a lot of changes outside of its rotation, Jones notes in the same story. Mike Conley is almost certain to opt in for next season at $34.5MM, and Jones believes free agent guard Jordan Clarkson is too valuable to let go. However, although Emmanuel Mudiay was a pleasant surprise, the Jazz don’t own his Bird rights, and Miye OniNigel Williams-Goss and Rayjon Tucker all have contracts that aren’t fully guaranteed for next season. Utah may be stuck with Ed Davis‘ $5MM contract after he suffered a knee injury during the restart.
  • Sources tell Jones that Utah is willing to buy a second-round pick if the right opportunity arises. The Jazz own the 23rd choice in the first round, but their second-rounder belongs to the Warriors. Utah is hoping to add a young talent who can become part of the rotation, so Jones expects the team to hang onto its first-round selection.
  • The Jazz are counting on improvement from young players who spent a lot of this season in the G League, such as Juwan Morgan, Jarrell Brantley and Oni, according to Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News“We’ll see how they come back once they get away and hopefully improve and reflect,” Lindsey said. “We had a very successful G League season and we think a lot of those guys can provide internal solutions.”

Pelicans Notes: Williamson, Gentry, Favors, Ball

The Pelicans were a huge disappointment during the restart and it raises some long-term questions about the roster, according to William Guillory of The Athletic.

Zion Williamson didn’t show improvement in his ball-handling or defense despite the hiatus to work on those aspects of his game, and his weight and lack of conditioning were also issues. The staff was cautious regarding the rookie’s minutes and even sat him out for a game during a back-to-back.

The offseason could be complicated by decisions regarding the futures of Brandon Ingram, Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball and Derrick Favors with the franchise, Guillory adds.

We have more on the Pelicans:

  • The team’s poor finish has put Alvin Gentry firmly on the hot seat but he’d like to think the front office has faith in him, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweets. Regarding the decision whether to retain him, Gentry replied: “That’s not in my job description. If it was, I wouldn’t fire myself.”
  • Favors said on Monday that he’d like to re-sign with the team, Guillory tweets. The 29-year-old big man heads into unrestricted free agency after averaging 9.0 PPG and 9.8 RPG this season. “Hopefully, they’ll have me back,” he said.
  • Ball was disappointed with his performance in Orlando but he’s generally pleased with how his first year in New Orleans unfolded, Mannix writes. “Overall, I think it was a positive experience,” Ball said. “I’m definitely looking forward to next year. I don’t think the whole season should be put on the bubble. Look at the whole year. We made a lot of growth … I’m proud of that.”
  • As we noted earlier, Williamson, Holiday and Ingram will sit out on Tuesday in what amounts to a meaningless game against Sacramento.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Favors, Rockets, Clarke

When the Pelicans announced on Monday that they’d signed Sindarius Thornwell, they indicated in their press release that the guard is a substitute player, but didn’t reveal which player on the roster he’d be replacing. More than 24 hours later, we have no further clarity on which New Orleans player will be supplanted by Thornwell.

According to John Hollinger of The Athletic (Twitter link), Thornwell is replacing a player who tested positive for the coronavirus and the Pelicans can’t name that player for privacy reasons. The team previously announced that three players tested positive for COVID-19, but the identities of those players wasn’t reported. Still, it will likely just be a matter of time until we know which Pelican won’t participate in the summer restart, if only by the process of elimination.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Pelicans center Derrick Favors, whose contract expires at season’s end, admitted today that he weighed the risk of suffering a pre-free-agency injury this summer before ultimately deciding to play. I definitely thought about it,” Favors said, per Will Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link). “But I trust my body and I trust what I’ve done.”
  • Rockets GM Daryl Morey said this week that he isn’t too concerned about the 2020/21 salary cap uncertainty, having concluded that any fluctuation is “probably not going to impact us too much,” tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets – and as I pointed out when I previewed Houston’s ’20/21 cap – a shifting tax line could affect the Rockets, since they already have more than $123MM committed to six guaranteed contracts.
  • Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke, who missed the team’s last eight games before the hiatus due to a quad injury, said on Monday that he feels like he’s back to full health, as Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. “Over these past five to six weeks, I’ve gotten back to the player that I was. I feel like I’m pretty much the same health that I was pre-injury,” Clarke said. “I got the same balance and running habits, so it’ll all just be about my habits on the court.”

Southwest Notes: Curry, Pelicans, Harden, Mavericks

Despite having multiple opportunities to join the Warriors and play with his brother to this point, Mavericks guard Seth Curry has decided he’d rather compete against Stephen Curry and has turned down those chances, as he explained on Uninterrupted’s “Go Off” with Austin Rivers.

“I thought about it,” Curry said, as relayed by DallasNews.com. “Earlier in my career, I had some opportunities to play on the Warriors and go there and, obviously, take on a much lesser role having teams stacked the way they’ve had them the last few years… I always turned him down, I never really wanted to play on the team, I wanted to play against him. I’m going to be compared to him in some way, in his shadow whether I’m on the team or not so it’s going to multiply if I were on the same team. I’d like to create my own path and doing my own thing…

“He wants me to stay on my path and do my thing. He knows the kind of pressure I get under when compared against him, playing against him and being on the same team. He knows what it will be like so he’s kind of pushed me the opposite direction of going my own separate way.”

Curry, 29, is coming off an impressive season with Dallas, averaging 12.6 points in 24.5 minutes per game. He shot 50% from the floor and 45% from deep, raising those marks from the previous season.

Curry also discussed what it’s like to play with Luka Doncic, his thoughts on the NBA returning to play and more in the video.

Here are some other notes from the Southwest Division:

  • William Guillory and Danny Leroux of The Athletic examine the futures of Derrick Favors and Jrue Holiday, with Favors on track to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and Holiday set to turn 30 next month. Despite Favors entering free agency, the Pelicans‘ top priority is still re-signing Brandon Ingram in restricted free agency.
  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic explores James Harden‘s boot camp, detailing how the Rockets star has stayed in shape throughout the NBA’s hiatus. “I’ve been doing a lot of cardio,” Harden said. “I’ve got treadmills in my houses, weights, and all that good stuff. It really hasn’t affected me like it’s affected a lot of other players.”
  • Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is making sure his players stay ready ahead of the NBA’s decision on whether to resume, as The Athletic’s David Aldridge writes. Dallas has yet to open its practice facility, with Mavericks players relying on virtual instructions, at-home workouts, yoga sessions and more since the league went on hiatus. “I don’t have any doubt that the players are very motivated to play, but (they’re) also, very smart guys, and they understand, I think, that we’re in a very serious part of our history, and things need to be handled the right way,” Carlisle said.

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.