Derrick Favors will be a free agent at the end of the season, and has already become the subject of speculation. He emphatically told The Salt Lake Tribune this week that he wants to remain with the Jazz long-term, but also knows the reality: He could be a trade asset for the Jazz as they rebuild in the wake of Gordon Hayward’s own free agency departure last summer. “The key is for me not to think about it,” Favors said. “I don’t read the articles. I don’t read twitter. I just don’t pay attention to it. I just have to understand that I can be here one day and gone the next. So I have to work hard while I’m here. I have to keep working on my game. And when I’m in the game, I just have to know that I’m not only playing for my team, but I’m showcasing my talent as well.”
In the end, the Celtics certainly made out, but during Thursday night’s telecast, Garnett – who possessed a no-trade clause – revealed that he didn’t need too much convincing to accept the trade to Brooklyn. “I think the time that we were all in Boston had served its time,” Garnett said after recalling that his approval was needed for the trade. “We were all moving. I think Ray [Allen] went to Miami the previous year. Paul [Pierce] and I and [Rajon] Rondo—we all knew that at some point, we were all gonna go to different places. “I had family in New York at the time, and it just seemed like it was perfect for me,” he added. “It was a good opportunity for me. Brooklyn was a year-and-a-half of a good experience. New York is never a dull moment, it was good for me, it was good for my family and it worked out.”
When Irving made the decision to request a trade away from Cleveland, most questioned his sanity. His father offered much-needed encouragement. “My best friend right there,” Irving said. “Understanding the relationship that we have, the bonds that we share over the course of my 25-year-old life. It’s pretty awesome to know that they retired his No. 11 at Boston University and I’m continuing that legacy for him and for our family by wearing No. 11 for the Boston Celtics.” “It just feels like that’s supposed to be my number.”
That DPE is an interesting tool for Boston to work with. My understanding of the situation is that the Celtics would prefer to hold onto it until closer to the buyout deadline, when they can use it to entice a veteran on the market. They don’t want to use it in, say, a trade for Jahlil Okafor, though there is real interest in Okafor if he were to hit the free-agent market.
Around the same time, the Nuggets were in the red zone — if not at the goal line — in talks with Phoenix for Eric Bledsoe, according to several league sources. The deal would almost certainly have included Mudiay and a first-round pick. Talks collapsed, and the Nuggets washed their hands of it. They would chase a playoff spot in one of the toughest conferences in history behind a 20- and 21-year-old sharing the controls with Jokic. Connelly would not comment on specific trade talks. “We chase every opportunity to improve ourselves,” he says. “We’ve had a lot of excellent players offered to us for our young talent. There’s a fine line between overvaluing your own players and being too aggressive chasing short-term results.”
They are confident they still have the goods to butt into trade talks for the next disgruntled star. That is uncertain. Bit players like Juancho Hernangomez and Malik Beasley have value, but they aren’t blockbuster centerpieces. Denver is out of extra first-round picks after coughing one up to dump JaVale McGee, and tossing another into the Plumlee-Jusuf Nurkic deal — an overpay.
As ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne recently reported, Deng would welcome a move out of Los Angeles since he’s well outside of head coach Luke Walton’s rotation. If up to 10 franchises have the cap space necessary to take on Deng’s contract, what kind of price would the Lakers have to pay to make a deal? “I would say a [first-round pick] with a good chance to convey in the lottery,” said an executive with another franchise. “I would say that’s in addition to Julius Randle unless the protections were very favorable to the receiving team.”