Derrick Favors

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.

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.”