Jazz Rumors

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 Vice President 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.”

NBA Announces 2019/20 All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-NBA teams for the 2019/20 season. Voting was completed prior to the league’s restart in July and was based on results through March 11.

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Lakers forward LeBron James, widely considered the two frontrunners for this year’s MVP award, were the only two players to be unanimously voted to the All-NBA First Team this season. Rockets guard James Harden, Lakers big man Anthony Davis, and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic rounded out the First Team.

The full All-NBA teams are listed below, with their vote totals in parentheses. Players received five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote, so Giannis and LeBron scored a perfect 500 — First Team nods from all 100 voters.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Among the players who just missed the cut were Bucks forward Khris Middleton (82 points), Sixers center Joel Embiid (79), Wizards guard Bradley Beal (32), and Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (26). A total of 11 other players also received at least one All-NBA vote — the full results can be found right here.

Today’s announcement is great news from a financial perspective for Siakam and Simmons. As a result of Siakam’s Second Team nod and Simmons’ Third Team spot, both players will earn starting salaries worth 28% of the 2020/21 salary cap, rather than 25%. Players who sign rookie scale extensions can earn maximum salaries up to 30% of the cap if they negotiate Rose Rule language into their deals.

The exact value of those new contracts will depend on where exactly the ’20/21 cap lands. Assuming it stays the same as in 2019/20 ($109.141MM), Siakam’s four-year extension would be worth $136.9MM instead of the $122.2MM it’d be worth if it started at 25% of the cap. Simmons’ five-year pact would be worth $177.2MM rather than $158.3MM.

While it’s also worth noting that All-NBA berths are of great importance to players seeking super-max contracts, there aren’t any real developments to report on that front as a result of this year’s votes. Antetokounmpo and Gobert remain eligible for super-max extensions, but they’d already qualified based on their previous accolades.

Embiid would have become super-max eligible in 2021 if he had earned an All-NBA spot, but he’ll need to make an All-NBA team next season to gain eligibility now, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

Hoops Rumors readers accurately picked 12 of this season’s 15 All-NBA players in our spring poll. Beal, Embiid, and Devin Booker were your picks who didn’t make the official list. Of the 12 who made it, 11 made the exact team you projected, with Paul (who made Second Team instead of Third Team) representing the only exception.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Funds Limited For Upgrades This Offseason

  • The Jazz don’t have much money to throw around in free agency as they look to upgrade their roster, Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News writes. On the flip side, they could lock up Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert to long-term contract extensions and they should be able to find ways to bolster their bench.

Going From Good To Great Won't Be Easy

  • The Jazz face a very difficult offseason as they look to go from good to great, Tony Jones of The Athletic writes. Their GM, Dennis Lindsey, acknowledges that finding ways to move up in the rugged West won’t be simple. “This league is not an easy league,” Lindsey said. “The world’s best coaches and players, everyone is reaching for the same prize. Our team wasn’t as good from a point differential as our previous two teams. We were better at closing games this season, and that offense can be a little more stable in the playoffs.”

Jazz Notes: Offseason, Gobert, Mitchell, Oturu

As the Jazz mull possible roster upgrades this offseason, they’ll be keeping an eye out for defensive-minded players, executive VP of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey said on Wednesday, per Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune.

“Anybody who has defensive integrity at their position, (who) can be an active, athletic defender will be someone that would be of interest to us,” Lindsey said. “Especially if they don’t compromise the spacing.”

While Utah’s roster features a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Rudy Gobert, the team only ranked in the middle of the pack this season in overall defensive rating, and struggled to slow down Jamal Murray and the Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs.

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • Citing NBA rules, Lindsey declined to get into specifics on Wednesday when asked about possible offseason extensions for Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. However, as Sarah Todd of The Deseret News writes, he insinuated that the Jazz will look to lock up both Gobert and Mitchell long-term, stressing that the franchise is “extremely pleased” with the character of its two All-Stars. “As I’ve mentioned before, we’re working to add players of Rudy and Donovan’s physical talent and competitive makeup and so by definition we’re going to want to keep those type of players moving forward,” Lindsey said.
  • Former University of Minnesota center Daniel Oturu interviewed with the Jazz on Wednesday, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link). Oturu, the No. 36 prospect on ESPN’s big board, may be an option for Utah at No. 23.
  • While it wasn’t specifically related to the Jazz, Lindsey made another notable comment during his end-of-season presser on Wednesday, contending that the lack of travel this summer improved the quality of NBA games and suggesting that the league should do what it can to reduce travel going forward. “If we ever get to a situation like baseball where you play a team more than one time in the market — obviously, there’s some business concerns there — but that reduced travel, I definitely think the product is more compelling because of that,” Lindsey said. A previous report indicated that the NBA is mulling this idea.

Decision On Gobert Looms For Jazz

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic examines the next big decisions and moves facing the four Western teams that were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, including whether the Thunder will trade Chris Paul and whether the Jazz should extend Rudy Gobert.

NBA Announces 2019/20 All-Defensive Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-Defensive teams for the 2019/20 season. Unsurprisingly, Defensive Player of the Year (and possible repeat MVP) Giannis Antetokounmpo was the leading vote-getter with 195 total points. Players receive two points per First Team vote and one point per Second Team vote.

This is the Bucks forward’s second consecutive appearance on the All-NBA First Team. Antetokounmpo was listed on 98 of 100 ballots from the 100 broadcasters and writers who comprised this year’s voting panel. 97 of those voters awarded him a First Team vote.

Lakers forward Anthony Davis was featured on every ballot and received a total tally of 187 points (including 87 First Team votes). Sixers guard Ben Simmons tallied 185 points with the third-most votes this year. Jazz center Rudy Gobert, the 2018 and 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, was fourth with 95 total votes (85 First Team), for 180 total points. Celtics guard Marcus Smart rounded out the All-Defensive First Team with 152 points, including 57 First Team votes.

Gobert’s inclusion on the All-Defensive First Team has earned him a $500K bonus, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Antetokounmpo’s Bucks teammates Brook Lopez (67 points) and Eric Bledsoe (59 points) each made the All-Defensive Second Team.

[RELATED: Giannis Antetokounmpo Named Defensive Player Of The Year]

Here are the full voting results for the All-Defensive First and Second Teams, with each player’s point total noted in parentheses:

First Team:

Second Team:

You can find the full voting results right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Community Shootaround: Jazz’s Future

The playoff series between with the Jazz and Nuggets was arguably the most entertaining of the first round. It featured a brilliant guard duel between Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray and wasn’t decided until the final buzzer of Game 7.

Denver advanced to play the Clippers, while Utah left Orlando facing an interesting and difficult off-season. Mitchell certainly solidified his status as the team’s star and most dynamic player.

The question hovering over the franchise is how can it go from a playoff team to a serious title contender? It’s hard to take that next step without multiple All-Stars.

Rudy Gobert is, of course, one of the league’s premier defenders but he’s limited offensively in a league where big man are now expected to expand their offensive games beyond the paint.

Mike Conley, who will almost assuredly opt in for the remaining $34.5MM on his contract, didn’t have as big an impact on the franchise as hoped when Utah traded for him last summer. His expiring contract, should he opt in, could be their best trade asset.

Royce O’Neale and Joe Ingles are solid, if unspectacular, role players with multiple years left on their contracts. The Jazz were missing a key piece in Orlando in Bojan Bogdanovic and they have expressed strong interest in re-signing free agent sixth man Jordan Clarkson, though other teams will be pursuing his services. Bogdanovic could have easily been the difference in the opening-round series, though it must be mentioned that the Nuggets advanced despite injuries to multiple rotation players.

That brings us to our question of the day: What should the Jazz do improve their roster and get to the next level?

Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to your input.

Conley Should Be More Comfortable Next Season

  • The Jazz hope that Mike Conley settles in after a choppy first season with the organization and that will result in a longer playoff run, according to Sarah Todd of the Deseret News. Conley is expected to opt into the final year of his contract, worth $34.5MM, for next season. The point guard will be more comfortable in his second year with the club after learning a new system and reworking his game to fit the Jazz’s style, Todd adds.

Jazz's Tough Loss Won't Shake Core Confidence

  • The Jazz‘s painful first-round defeat to the Nuggets won’t shake the team’s core confidence, Tony Jones of The Athletic details. Utah lost a hard-fought seven-game series to Denver, coming up short without one of their best scorers in Bojan Bogdanovic (20.2 PPG; season-ending wrist surgery). “We went from being an ‘unsalvageable’ team three months ago to this, and I don’t think anybody outside of us expected that,” Donovan Mitchell said. “I’m happy with the way we played, obviously not the result. Look man, like, we’ve got things that we know we can fix and like I said, we felt like we kind of gave (away) situations when we had control of the series and we let it get out of hand. … With Bojan coming back, not putting everything on Bojan, but with him coming back it’s another weapon. This won’t happen again.”