Derrick Favors

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.

Ed Davis Signs Two-Year Deal With Jazz

JULY 20, 8:03am: The signing is official, according to NBA.com’s transactions log.

JUNE 30, 9:20pm: The Jazz have agreed to sign big man Ed Davis to a two-year deal, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com passes along via Twitter. Davis will make $10MM over the next two seasons.

Utah will use the room exception to sign Davis, which is the same type of deal the big man inked last summer in Brooklyn. Davis was our Room Exception MVP, as I broke down in our contract awards.

Davis had previously stated that the financials would likely dictate his destination in free agency. “First is the money…Then, two is fit,” Davis said last month.

The Jazz agreed to a contract with Bojan Bogdanovic earlier in the day, reaching a four-year, $73MM deal with the wing. The team is expected to either trade or waive Derrick Favors in order to accommodate the signing. Davis will help Utah fortify its big man rotation.

And-Ones: Pacers, Favors, Zhou, Teodosic

The Pacers were thrilled to see Goga Bitadze still available when the team picked at No. 18, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star relays. The scribe hears that many within the league were surprised Bitadze was still available at that spot. However, several executives told Michael that had they been running the Pacers, they wouldn’t have taken the center unless they planned on trading either Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis.

Most of the executives Michael spoke to believe that if the team decides to trade either Turner and Sabonis, the latter will be the one to go. Turner is entering the first season of a four-year, $80MM contract, while Sabonis is entering the last year of his rookie deal.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Pelicans were Derrick Favors‘ preferred destination once it was clear the Jazz were moving him, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets. Utah needed to trade Favors in order to accommodate the Bojan Bogdanovic signing.
  • Former Rockets center Zhou Qi plans to play in Europe next season, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Zhou has not yet picked a team.
  • Milos Teodosic will make slightly over €5MM during his three-year contract with Virtus Bologna, Carchia passes along in a separate piece. Teodosic last played for the Clippers during this past season.

Pelicans Waive Dairis Bertans

4:27pm: Bertans’ release is now official, per NBA.com’s transactions log. According to Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas (Twitter link), the 29-year-old has already reached an agreement to sign with Russian club Khimki.

3:04pm: According to his agent, Arturs Kalnitis (Twitter link), the Pelicans will waive guard Dairis Bertans. Per Kalnitis’ tweet, it appears unlikely that Bertans will be claimed off waivers by another NBA team.

The news isn’t entirely unexpected, as the Pelicans would have had 17 players on standard contracts after the team’s trade for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart, reported trade for Derrick Favors, and reported signings of J.J. Redick, Darius Miller, and Nicolo Melli all came through.

Teams are permitted to have as many as 20 players on their roster during the offseason, but the Pelicans didn’t have the necessary cap space to sign Redick and trade for Favors without trimming some salary from their roster. By waiving Bertans, the Pelicans now figure to be able to complete those two deals, depending on the value of the first-year salary of Redick’s new contract.

Based on my math, the Pelicans can sign Redick to a starting salary of $12,853,641 after waiving Bertans (assuming Melli is signed with the room exception). With standard 5% raises, the total value of Redick’s contract would be just under $26.35MM, which is in line with the reported $26.5MM value.

As for Bertans, the 29-year-old Latvian will likely return to Europe after his one-year stay in the NBA, where he averaged 2.8 PPG in 12 games with the Pelicans.

Pelicans Acquire Derrick Favors For Two Second-Rounders

JULY 7: The Jazz have officially traded Favors to the Pelicans, according to press releases issued by both teams.

Utah’s press release features a statement from owner Gail Miller praising Favors and thanking him for his “immeasurable contributions” to the organization. Meanwhile, Pelicans head of basketball operations David Griffin said in a statement that New Orleans is “ecstatic” to acquire a “player and person of Derrick’s caliber.”

“As a selfless, 27-year old elite rim protector, with what we believe is untapped offensive potential, he is just entering his prime,” Griffin said of Favors. “We believe he will be a vital piece of our nucleus moving forward.”

JULY 1: The Pelicans will send Utah the Warriors’ 2021 and 2023 second-round picks in the swap, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. New Orleans had initially acquired both picks in a draft-night deal with Golden State.

JUNE 30: The Pelicans have agreed to acquire forward Derrick Favors in a trade with the Jazz, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link). New Orleans will send draft picks in exchange for Favors, Jones adds.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe was first to report Utah’s desire to move Favors to New Orleans, with the two sides reaching a deal hours into the first night of free agency.

The Jazz worked to trade Favors’ contract after reaching agreement on a four-year, $73MM deal with free agent Bojan Bogdanovic earlier in the night.

Favors, 27, has spent the past nine years of his career with the Jazz. He averaged 11.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 23.2 minutes per game last season, starting in 70 of a possible 76 games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Grizzlies Trade Mike Conley To Jazz

JULY 6: The trade sending Conley to the Jazz is now official, per the NBA’s transactions log. Darius Bazley, who was selected with the No. 23 overall pick last month, will be re-routed from Utah to Oklahoma City in a subsequent deal, while Korver will be sent to Phoenix.

JUNE 19: The Grizzlies and Jazz have reached an agreement on a trade that will send standout point guard Mike Conley to Utah, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Memphis will receive a package made up of Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver, Grayson Allen, the No. 23 pick in the 2019 draft, and a future first-round pick. Per Wojnarowski (via Twitter), that second first-rounder will be a 2020 pick, which features protections through 2024.

Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian provides the full details on those protections, tweeting that the Grizzlies will get the pick in 2020 or 2021 if it falls in the 8-14 range. If it doesn’t convey in either of those drafts, it would become top-six protected in 2022, top-three protected in 2023, and top-one protected in 2024.

The deal will be completed once the new league year begins in July for cap reasons, according to Wojnarowski and ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter). The Jazz will have to absorb Conley using their newly-opened cap room, but won’t necessarily have to waive Derrick Favors‘ non-guaranteed contract to make the deal work, Marks notes (via Twitter).

It’s a huge acquisition for the Jazz, who will be able to pair Conley with Donovan Mitchell in their backcourt, with Favors and Rudy Gobert up front and Joe Ingles providing floor spacing on the wing.

[RELATED: Ricky Rubio not counting on return to the Jazz]

Conley, 31, is coming off perhaps the best season of his NBA career, having averaged a career-high 21.1 PPG to go along with 6.4 APG, 3.4 RPG, 1.3 SPG, and a .438/.364/.845 shooting line.

Utah reportedly tried to land Conley at the trade deadline, putting an offer on the table that featured expiring contracts and a first-round pick, but that wasn’t enough to get Memphis to accept. The Jazz figured to face competition for the point guard from possible suitors like the Pacers, Heat, Celtics, and Mavericks when they circled back this offseason, but they were able to get a deal done early in the summer.

The Jazz can now focus on filling out their roster with complementary players. With Conley’s lucrative contract set to hit their books, they’ll no longer be a player for major free agents, but will have the room exception available. It’s projected to be worth $4.76MM.

Conley is owed $32.5MM in 2019/20 and $34.5MM in 2020/21 before his contract expires in 2021. His deal aligns him with Utah’s other core pieces — currently, Mitchell and Gobert are both on track to reach free agency in 2021 as well.

As for the Grizzlies, they’re expected to shift into rebuilding mode after trading long-time cornerstones Marc Gasol in February and Conley now. They’re poised to select Ja Morant with the No. 2 overall pick in tomorrow’s draft to supplant Conley as their point guard of the future. He and Jaren Jackson Jr. project to be the franchise’s building blocks going forward.

It’s not clear yet whether the Grizzlies intend to keep all the players and draft picks they’re acquiring in exchange for Conley. Crowder and Korver are on fairly modest expiring contracts (Korver’s salary is only partially guaranteed) and could appeal to contenders. Allen and the picks, on the other hand, represent solid assets for Memphis’ rebuild, though David Aldridge of The Athletic (Twitter link) hears that the club will listen to offers for the No. 23 selection.

The Grizzlies are also in position to create a massive traded player exception in the swap, assuming they remain an over-the-cap team. Cap expert Albert Nahmad estimates the value of that exception to be about $25MM (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Rumors: Kanter, Favors, Horford, Wolves

The Trail Blazers, Lakers, and Celtics are expected to be among the teams to show interest in Enes Kanter when free agency opens, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Portland doesn’t have Bird rights on Kanter, and Boston and L.A. may end up using most or all of their cap room on impact players, so it’s possible that none of those three teams will have the resources to make a strong bid for Kanter. We’ll see if the taxpayer mid-level exception (Trail Blazers) or room exception (Lakers, Celtics) is enough to sign him.

Here are more free agent rumors from around the NBA:

  • Jazz big man Derrick Favors remains under contract in Utah, but because his situation remains in flux due to his non-guaranteed contract, he’ll be permitted to take calls from interested teams during the free agent period, agent Wallace Prather tells Shams Charania of The Athletic. If the Jazz decide not to guarantee Favors’ $17.65MM salary for 2019/20, he’d be waived by July 6 and could join a new club.
  • Reporters around the NBA are still trying to pin down the mystery team that appears to be on track to sign Al Horford to a lucrative four-year contract. Marc Stein of The New York Times thought it might be the Pelicans, but says he has been “strongly advised” that that’s not the case (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link) doesn’t believe the Mavericks are seriously in the mix for Horford, despite reports that suggested otherwise.
  • According to Darren Wolfson of SKOR North (by way of Dan Feldman of NBC Sports), the Timberwolves reached out to the Nets to see whether Brooklyn might be interested in Andrew Wiggins in a potential sign-and-trade for RFA-to-be D’Angelo Russell. Predictably, the Nets had no interest in taking on Wiggins’ contract, per Wolfson.
  • The Kings haven’t closed the door on a reunion with Kosta Koufos, who will be an unrestricted free agent this Sunday, and the veteran center feels the same way, writes James Ham of NBC Sports California. Both sides figure to let the market dictate their next moves, Ham adds.

Mannix’s Latest: Celtics, Brogdon, Lakers, Favors, Ross

With Kyrie Irving and Al Horford expected to sign elsewhere and Aron Baynes having been re-routed to Phoenix, the Celtics have the ability to create about $25.8MM — or up to $34MM-ish if they renounce Terry Rozier.

As Chris Mannix of SI.com notes in his latest look at free agency, Kemba Walker has been linked to the Celtics this week, but he’s not the only free agent the club is considering. According to Mannix, Boston has internally discussed the possibility of pursuing Bucks RFA-to-be Malcolm Brogdon.

There has also been speculation about Bradley Beal as a potential trade target for the Celtics, but that probably won’t be an option, according to Mannix, who notes that Beal (a favorite of team owner Ted Leonsis) has been told by the Wizards that he won’t be dealt. Even if Beal were available, there’s a feeling in Boston that it might take Jayson Tatum to acquire him, Mannix adds.

Here’s more from Mannix:

  • The Lakers have shopped their “spare parts” in trade discussions, but talks have gone nowhere so far, league sources tell Mannix. Presumably, Mannix is referring to Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones, who would have to be rolled into the Lakers’ Anthony Davis blockbuster for the club to maximize its cap room.
  • While it seems likely that he’ll be back, the Jazz haven’t necessarily locked in on retaining Derrick Favors, who has a non-guaranteed $17.65MM contract. Mannix suggests that Nikola Mirotic could be a name worth keeping an eye for Utah on if Favors is released to create cap room.
  • The Magic have been “steadfast” in their desire to re-sign top free agents Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross, and some within the organization are anxious to see what their market value will be, writes Mannix. Ross may be a candidate to receive a big contract offer from a team in need of a three-and-D wing, according to Mannix, who speculates that the sharpshooter could command $15MM per year.