Vin Bhavnani

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.”

And-Ones: Turner, Whiteside, Parsons, Rubio

In an interesting interview with Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe, Evan Turner explained how he ended up reaching an agreement with the Trail Blazers earlier today, expressing confidence that he’ll be a great fit in Portland. Turner suggested that he’d “play in Boston every single day of the week” if all other factors were equal, but the Celtics would have only have offered him about half what the Blazers did, and the C’s likely would’ve reduced his role as well.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA:

  • Hassan Whiteside‘s max salary isn’t set in stone yet, according to Ethan J. Skolnick of The Miami Herald, who tweets that the young center would be willing to take a little less if Kevin Durant wants to sign with the Heat.
  • Chandler Parsons called his decision to sign with the Grizzlies the toughest of his life, calling Portland “incredible” and citing Memphis’ coaching staff as a major factor in his choice. Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com has the quotes from Parsons.
  • Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press is skeptical that the Timberwolves will trade Ricky Rubio this summer, tweeting that head coach Tom Thibodeau wants to work with the point guard. Krawczynski expects Rubio to be on Minnesota’s roster when training camp rolls around.
  • Dubbed last week as the favorites to reach a deal with Spanish point guard Sergio Rodriguez, the Nets are are still trying to get a deal done with Rodriguez, but sources tell Mike Mazzeo and Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that an agreement looks “unlikely.”
  • The Thunder issued a press release today confirming the hiring of Adrian Griffin as an assistant on Billy Donovan‘s staff, as was reported last month. Vin Bhavnani and former NBA guard Royal Ivey also received promotions and are now assistant coaches, per the team.