Derrick Favors

Thunder’s Derrick Favors Picks Up 2022/23 Player Option

Thunder center Derrick Favors has officially exercised his player option for the 2022/23 season, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The move had been expected, with Favors telling reporters after Oklahoma City’s season ended last month that he planned to opt in. The $10.18MM option will pay him more next season than he could realistically expect to earn if he turned it down and sought a new contract as a free agent.

Favors, who was traded from Utah to Oklahoma City last July, didn’t play a ton for his new team in 2021/22, averaging a modest 16.7 minutes per game in 39 appearances. His season came to an early end due to a back issue.

When he did play, Favors averaged 5.3 PPG and 4.7 RPG. Although he’s still a solid rebounder and can score around the basket, the 30-year-old didn’t have much of a role on a rebuilding Thunder team that was more focused on developing its young players.

Now that he’s on an expiring contract and presumably isn’t in OKC’s long-term plans, Favors should be viewed as a trade candidate this offseason. However, it doesn’t sound like he’d be opposed to returning to the Thunder.

Favors recently said that playing with the young club brought back the “joy of playing basketball and not worrying about the business part,” and told the media during his exit interview that he expected to be back with the Thunder next season.

We’re tracking all of this year’s player option decisions right here.

Northwest Notes: Favors, Barton, McLemore, Gobert, Mitchell

At age 30, Derrick Favors may seem out of place on a rebuilding team, but he said spending this season with the Thunder helped him enjoy the game again, writes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Favors, who was acquired from the Jazz in a salary dump trade last summer, only played 39 games and sat out the final month of the season with back soreness, but he still says the experience was important.

“It brought back that fun,” Favors said, “that joy of playing basketball and not worrying about the business part, not worrying about personal life stuff, just having fun and … feeling that energy of being around 19-, 20-, 21-year-olds.”

Favors has already indicated that he will pick up his option for next season, which is worth $10.18MM, much more than he would make in free agency. However, that doesn’t guarantee he’ll back. Mussatto expects Oklahoma City to explore a trade this summer and possibly waive Favors to open a roster spot for one of its four picks in this year’s draft. However, Favors said at his exit interview that he “expects to be back.”

“I’m glad I’m here,” he said. “It opened my eyes to a lot of things. I just enjoy watching these young guys. I enjoy watching them come out and improve every game. I enjoy talking to (coach) Mark (Daigneault), and I enjoy being in this atmosphere.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Nuggets might have to consider trading Will Barton this offseason to help upgrade their defense, suggests Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Barton, who has spent eight years with the team, has an expiring $14MM contract for next season and Denver may need a stronger defensive guard to pair with Jamal Murray as he returns from his ACL injury. Singer identifies Monte Morris and JaMychal Green as other players who might be moved.
  • The Trail Blazers could be tempted to re-sign Ben McLemore to serve as a veteran shooter, according to Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. McLemore averaged 10.2 points per game and connected at 36.2% from three-point range after signing with Portland last offseason, and he can provide valuable roster depth for a team that hopes to bounce back next season.
  • It’s time for the Jazz to break up the combination of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, argues Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports, who examines the potential trade market for each player.

Derrick Favors Plans To Pick Up Player Option

Thunder big man Derrick Favors expects to exercise his player option for 2022/23 and to be back in Oklahoma City next season, he said today (Twitter link via Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman).

The three-year deal Favors signed with Utah in 2020 included two guaranteed years and a $10.18MM option for ’22/23. The veteran center was traded from the Jazz to the Thunder during the 2021 offseason and didn’t play a ton for his new team this season, averaging a modest 16.7 minutes per game in 39 appearances. His season came to an early end due to a back issue.

Favors averaged 5.3 PPG and 4.7 RPG in his part-time role for Oklahoma City in 2021/22. Although he’s still a solid rebounder and can score around the basket, the 30-year-old didn’t have much of a role on a rebuilding Thunder team that was more focused on developing its young players.

Once he officially picks up his player option, Favors should be viewed as a trade candidate, since he’ll be on an expiring deal and likely isn’t part of OKC’s long-term plans. However, his $10MM+ salary may be more than some teams are comfortable paying a backup center.

Thunder’s Derrick Favors Done For Season

Speaking on Thursday to reporters, including Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link), Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said that veteran center Derrick Favors will miss the remainder of the season with lower back soreness. Favors hasn’t played since February 24.

Favors, 30, holds a player option for 2022/23 worth $10,183,800, which he’s almost certain to pick up after having the worst season of his 12-year career. Favors averaged career-lows of 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds this season in 39 games with the Thunder (16.7 minutes per night).

While Favors’ per-minute averages are still decent, he’s been trending downward the past few seasons.

Daigneault also said that Kenrich Williams is doubtful to return to action this year as he continues to deal with a sprained knee. He has been sidelined even longer than Favors, since February 14.

Williams, 27, has emerged as a valuable three-and-D role player over the past couple seasons with OKC, averaging a combined 7.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists on .501/.391/.559 shooting in 115 games (21.7 minutes). His $2MM salary for next season is non-guaranteed.

The tanking Thunder currently hold a 22-54 record, which is the fourth-worst mark in the league according to our reverse standings.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Northwest Division

For the rest of the regular season and postseason, Hoops Rumors is taking a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this offseason. We consider whether their stock is rising or falling due to their performance and other factors. Today, we’re focusing on a handful of Northwest players.


Jusuf Nurkic, C, Trail Blazers

2021/22: $12MM
2022/23: UFA
Stock: Up ⬆️

A lengthy injury absence preceding a player’s free agency typically doesn’t help that player’s stock, but Nurkic’s value is on the rise despite the case of plantar fasciitis that will sideline him for at least four weeks and could end his season.

Prior to his injury, the veteran center was playing his best basketball of the season during a four-game winning streak (21.5 PPG, 14.0 RPG, and 4.3 APG). As a result, it’s safe to assume shutting him down was more about keeping the Blazers’ tanking efforts on track than it was about any long-term health concerns. After all, Portland has had essentially a neutral net rating (-0.1) during Nurkic’s minutes this season, compared to a -11.7 mark when he’s not on the court.

Nurkic looks like a good bet to get a new contract worth at least the $12MM per year he’s currently making — and likely more than that.

Derrick Favors, C, Thunder

2021/22: $9.72MM
2022/23: $10.18MM player option
Stock: Down ⬇️

Favors’ per-minute production hasn’t declined significantly during the last two seasons, but his 15.3 minutes per game in 2020/21 and his 16.7 MPG this season are the two lowest marks of his career. Injuries and DNP-CDs have also limited him to just 39 games so far in ’21/22.

At age 30, Favors should still have plenty left in the tank, and he could reverse the trend of his declining playing time if he ends up in the right situation next season. But he won’t get a contract offer on the open market that exceeds the value of his player option ($10.18MM). I’d expect him to opt in and then try to work with the Thunder on a trade or buyout.

Danuel House, F, Jazz

2021/22: Minimum salary
2022/23: UFA
Stock: Up ⬆️

Once a key three-and-D rotation player in Houston, House saw his numbers dip in 2020/21 and slide even further to start this season, leading to his release. It took him a little time to find a permanent new home following a 10-day deal with the Knicks, but he has hit his stride again in Utah, averaging 6.7 PPG with an impressive .453 3PT% in 18 games (18.8 MPG).

House isn’t the type of player who is a threat to go off for 30 points on a given night (his career high is 23), but his ability to knock down three-pointers and defend multiple positions could be very important for a Utah team hoping to make a deep playoff run. A strong postseason showing would further boost House’s stock entering the summer.

Josh Okogie, G/F, Timberwolves

2021/22: $4.09MM
2022/23: RFA
Stock: Down ⬇️

Okogie has received praise from head coach Chris Finch for his leadership and his attitude, but the former first-round pick is no longer part of the Timberwolves’ regular rotation, having logged just 48 minutes across seven games since the start of February. He has some value on defense, but doesn’t provide enough on offense to warrant consistent minutes.

While Minnesota can technically make Okogie a restricted free agent this offseason, doing so would require a $5.86MM qualifying offer — I expect the team to pass on that QO, letting Okogie become an unrestricted FA.

Jeff Green, F, Nuggets

2021/22: $4.5MM
2022/23: $4.5MM player option
Stock: Up ⬆️

After years of settling for minimum-salary contracts, Green earned a two-year, $9MM commitment from the Nuggets last summer. The veteran forward will turn 36 years old later this year, so he initially seemed like a safe bet to pick up his $4.5MM option for 2022/23. But that’s no longer a given, based on the way he has performed this season.

Stepping into a larger role than anticipated due to Michael Porter Jr.‘s extended absence (and, to a lesser extent, Vlatko Cancar‘s season-ending foot injury), Green has averaged nearly 25 minutes per game in 63 appearances (51 starts) for Denver, scoring 10.5 PPG on 51.4% shooting.

While he has struggled from beyond the three-point line (30.1%), Green has been a crucial contributor this season for a Nuggets team trying to survive without two of its top scorers (Porter and Jamal Murray). It might be enough to justify an offseason opt-out — if he finishes the season strong, Green could potentially land one more multiyear deal.

Northwest Notes: Simons, Favors, Beasley, Timberwolves

Anfernee Simons‘ recent play has justified former Blazers executive Neil Olshey’s faith in him, Jason Quick of The Athletic writes. Olshey maintained that Simons was the most talented player he had ever drafted, even though he had also selected Damian Lillard, Blake Griffin and CJ McCollum during his career. A late first-rounder in 2018, Simons has averaged 28.3 PPG and 8.2 APG in his last six games. Simons will be a restricted free agent this summer.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Thunder big man Derrick Favors shrugs off the trade rumors surrounding him, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman tweets. “I think every year I’ve been in the league, my name’s been in trade rumors … I’m pretty much used to it,” he said. “I don’t really pay attention to it. I try to control what I can control. I try to, like coach says, keep my feet grounded where I’m at.” Favors, who has appeared in 31 games with Oklahoma City this season, holds a $10.18MM player option on his contract for next season.
  • Malik Beasley‘s subpar perimeter shooting is hampering the Timberwolves offense and making him more difficult to trade before next month’s deadline, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic opines. Beasley is averaging 12.3 PPG while shooting a career-low 37.3% from the field. Beasley is signed through the 2023/24 season, though the final year is a team option.
  • On that same topic, the Timberwolves are in a tricky spot regarding the trade deadline, Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. They are in the playoff hunt, hovering around the .500 mark, and could be buyers if they want to enhance their chances of a postseason berth. They could just as well trade veterans such as Patrick Beverley for assets or simply stand pat and see if the current group can develop more chemistry.

Sixers’ Drummond, Clippers’ Jackson, Others Exit Protocols

Sixers center Andre Drummond has exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols and was in attendance at the team’s practice on Wednesday, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

Drummond had been one of three Sixers players in the protocols, along with Shake Milton and Danny Green. While Green is still listed as out for Thursday’s game in Brooklyn, the team is hopeful that Milton will be able to clear the protocols and play in that game, tweets Pompey. Milton is currently considered questionable.

Here are a few more COVID-related updates:

  • Clippers guard Reggie Jackson has exited the COVID-19 protocols and rejoined the team, but won’t play on Wednesday in Boston, sources tell Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Jackson will need a little reconditioning work before being activated.
  • Kings rookie Davion Mitchell has cleared the health and safety protocols, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Another rookie, center Neemias Queta, is currently the only Sacramento player in the protocols.
  • Thunder center Derrick Favors is no longer listed on the team’s injury report, which is a sign that he has cleared the protocols, notes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). Favors was just placed in the protocols on Tuesday, so he may have registered a false positive.

COVID-19 Roundup: Raptors, Kings, Thunder, Knicks

The hits keep coming for the NBA. While some good news has arrived regarding the health status of a handful of players, several more have been sidelined in the league’s coronavirus protocols. Here are the newest developments concerning which players have entered or exited the health and safety protocols:

  • Raptors big man Precious Achiuwa and point guard Malachi Flynn have exited the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN. Lewenberg notes that power forward Pascal Siakam and wing Gary Trent Jr., who cleared protocols yesterday, have been listed as probable ahead of Toronto’s game against the Sixers this evening. Center Khem Birch, who also cleared protocols yesterday, remains questionable to play, as do Achiuwa and Flynn. Following this news, the total sum of Raptors players still in the league’s COVID-19 protocols has fallen to five.
  • Kings center Alex Len has exited the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, per James Ham of ESPN 1320 (via Twitter). Because the 7-footer has not played a game since December 15, Ham notes that Len remains questionable to play tonight against the Thunder.
  • Thunder center Derrick Favors is now in the league’s coronavirus protocols, reports Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. Favors is the sixth Oklahoma City player currently in COVID-19 protocols. Head coach Mark Daigneault also entered the protocols today.
  • The Knicks have announced (Twitter link) that little-used guard Wayne Selden has entered the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The 6’5″ veteran wing has not been a part of the rotation this season for New York, having suited up for just three games thus far.
  • Keep tabs on all the NBA’s current coronavirus absences via our daily tracker.

Northwest Notes: McLaughlin, Wolves, Whiteside, Favors

After riding the pine for the first three quarters of an eventual 96-89 Timberwolves victory over the Pelicans on Sunday, reserve point guard Jordan McLaughlin made sure to maximize his minutes when his number was called during the game’s fourth quarter, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.

“We all have our job to do and mine is to be ready at all times,” McLaughlin said. “So, I’m just going in there, trying to change the game, pick up full court, be a pest on defense and push the pace on offense and make plays.”

A 5’11” point guard out of USC, the 25-year-old McLaughlin re-signed with Minnesota over the summer on a three-year, $6.5MM deal, with a team option for the final season. Hine notes that head coach Chris Finch had stuck with a 10-man rotation before ultimately turning to McLaughlin in a successful strategic maneuver to close out New Orleans. McLaughin’s solid offensive contributions in a win for the 2-1 Timberwolves could certainly earn him future rotation time.

In 12 minutes on Sunday, McLaughlin netted a +5 plus-minus rating, to go along with six points on two-of-three shooting, two steals, two boards and an assist. During the Timberwolves’ Monday rematch against the Pelicans on Monday, however, McLaughlin was less successful. In 11 minutes during the 107-98 loss, McLaughlin scored no points and registered a -10 rating, though he did chip in three assists and a rebound.

“We have literally 15 guys on the roster that can play at a high level, night in and night out,” McLaughlin said. “We have a really deep team, and every night we’ve got to bring it, withstand the punches and just keep rolling with them and try to overcome it at the end.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Following their aforementioned 107-98 Monday defeat to the Pelicans, the Timberwolves held an intense practice, focused on emphasizing passing and looking for open teammates, writes Chris Hine of the Star Tribune“The person that’s open gets the ball,” shooting guard Josh Okogie commented. “Obviously, we have (D’Angelo Russell) and (Karl-Anthony Towns), and those guys are the stars on our team, and those guys get, obviously, more leniency on the shots they do take because they’ve proved that they can make those shots. But in the normal flow of the offense, I feel like whether it’s me, Malik (Beasley), Taurean (Prince), Jaden (McDaniels), whoever it is … If the person is open, I feel like they should get the ball.” Minnesota head coach Chris Finch confirmed the intensity of the practice following the loss. “It was a little testy,” Finch said. “A lot of the guys talking about what could have been done better or different. … I’d rather have that than guys in there who don’t care and not say anything, they’re not bothered. Then winning doesn’t mean enough to you.”
  • New Jazz reserve center Hassan Whiteside seems to be taking to his new fit on a playoff-caliber roster behind All-Star center Rudy Gobert quite well, per Tony Jones of The Athletic. Jones notes that the Jazz have outscored opponents by 20 points during the time Whiteside has logged on the floor in Gobert’s stead during the young season. “This is why they brought me here,” the 32-year-old said. “I knew what I was getting myself into when I signed here, so I had to prepare myself for how the Jazz liked to play. They like to have a rolling big. They want to have the shot-blocking. They’ve been really successful at it in the past, so I know how they like to play. I just have to put myself in a position to be successful.” Through two games as of this writing, Whiteside is averaging 7.0 PPG, 9.5 RPG, and 1.5 BPG in just 17.0 MPG.
  • Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault intends to rest veteran center Derrick Favors during one game of their back-to-back sets, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). Daigneault noted that this strategy was agreed upon by both Oklahoma City and Favors. The 6’9″ 30-year-old out of Georgia Tech has started two of his three contests with the Thunder thus far, averaging 4.0 PPG and 6.3 RPG across 16.3 MPG.

Northwest Notes: Favors, Morris, Billups, Snell

Derrick Favors didn’t expect to be traded to the rebuilding Thunder, but he’s trying to make the most of the situation, as he told Tony Jones of The Athletic.

“At first, I was kind of confused,” Favors said. “I was caught off guard. But, I knew it was nothing personal. When I reflected on it from a business standpoint, I knew that something had to happen. I accepted it, and I’m in a great place.”

Favors, who scored just four points while grabbing nine rebounds against his former team on Wednesday, was a member of the Jazz for over eight years from 2011-19 before being traded to New Orleans. He re-signed with Utah in 2020 and then was traded again this offseason. The Thunder were motivated to make the deal with the Jazz by adding another future first-rounder to their stockpile of picks.

Since he hadn’t played a road game in Utah since first leaving the team in 2019, the Jazz put together a tribute video for Favors that was displayed during the first half, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News writes.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • As Jamal Murray works his way back from a devastating knee injury, Monte Morris is embracing his current role as the lead point guard, Kyle Fredrickson of the Denver Post writes. “I’m not trying to be Jamal Murray. I’m just trying to be the best fashion of myself that I can be and help the team in any way,” Morris said. “That’s why there’s not a lot of pressure.” He had nine points and three assists in the Nuggets’ opening-night victory over Phoenix.
  • First-year coach Chauncey Billups says he’s not worried about the possibility of the Trail Blazers getting off to a slow start, Casey Holdahl of the team’s website writes. Billups is more concerned about the team’s growth under a new system. “This team has gotten to the playoffs forever and then those habits end up coming into play and it derails you from trying to extend your season,” he said. “So I’m more concerned with how we can change a lot of things that are really important for us on both ends of the ball. And when we actually do that, I just know how good of a team we can be.”
  • Trail Blazers wing Tony Snell suffered a minor setback as he recovers from a right foot sprain that sidelined during the preseason, according to Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. “I think he’ll be on the court hopefully before two weeks but you can’t throw a guy back out there in a game,” Billups said. Snell joined the team in free agency on a one-year contract.