Derrick Favors

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.”

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.”