NBA Rumor: Derrick Favors Free Agency

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The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has signed forward/center Derrick Favors. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released. “Since he joined the Jazz originally during the 2010-11 season, Derrick Favors was an important part of the franchise and community,” said Jazz Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Dennis Lindsey. “We jumped at the chance to bring him back. His toughness, physicality and selflessness are key reasons he’s had such success in this league and we’re excited about what he brings to our team.”

Mutual interest between Jazz, Derrick Favors

This is Utah’s main use of finding a guy who can slide into its rotation. Obviously, there is significant Derrick Favors speculation here. Here’s the deal. There is mutual interest. Favors would not mind a return to Utah, even if it means coming off the bench as Gobert’s primary backup. But, at this point, that’s all it is … interest. The Jazz have to decide whether Favors would be the right place to spend their most significant chunk of offseason money, especially considering finding a 3-and-D wing is of greater priority. Favors will have multiple suitors on the market, including his incumbent team, the New Orleans Pelicans. So, there’s a lot that can happen between now and the opening of free agency.

Derrick Favors hopes to be back with Pelicans

“I think I handled it well,” Favors said of transitioning from Utah to New Orleans. “Obviously, a new team and new environment after being in Utah the past eight, nine years, just coming into a new environment, it was challenging and it was fun at the same time. I think I did good. I came in and really just played my role, did my job as a vet, kept guys ready, kept young guys ready, teaching them everything I could help them with and it was fun. “I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the role I was in, I enjoyed being around the young guys, being around this organization. Hopefully, I can come back but we’ll see what happens.”

Utah Jazz forward/center Derrick Favors will enter the free-agency period fielding calls from interested teams as if he will be an unrestricted free agent, agent Wallace Prather told The Athletic. Favors, who has a July 6 date on his $17M contract guarantee for 2019-20, will have a robust market as a free agent with several teams pursuing big men. In 76 games last season, Favors averaged 11.8 points and 7.4 rebounds. He has been a critical part of Utah’s rise into a perennial playoff contender.

Favors knows he may have played his last game in a Jazz uniform. He knows he could be an unrestricted free agent in less than a month. He’s at peace with it all. He will celebrate Father’s Day this weekend with his children. On Monday, he will wake up and go to his daily workout, which includes a lift, a bit of cardio and a bunch of skill work in his mission to evolve his perimeter game. “My goal when I retire is for my children to be able to look at me and be proud of me,” Favors told The Athletic. [….] “I want them to be proud that I’m their father. That’s why I’ll never be afraid to give it my all in basketball. I’ve prepared myself mentally that maybe I’ll have to be on another team and in another city. I’ve accepted that already. It’s the nature of the business that you never know what the future holds. I want to stay in Utah. But, if I have to go a different route, I have to accept that, and I have to believe in my ability.”

For Utah going into next season, you guys have Ricky Rubio as a free agent and Derrick Favors on a non-guaranteed contract. What do you see for yourselves next season collectively? I think the biggest thing is just trusting what management does. Obviously, a lot of this stuff is out of my control personally. The biggest thing for us is to just get better and improve. Obviously, we didn’t have the end of the season we wanted to, but we had a 50-win season. I think that’s one of the things that people really don’t notice because we had such a quick exit in the playoffs, but we did have a 50-win season. I think for us, the biggest thing is just to continue to get better and understand that this is a process. It’s my first time really going through free agency like this, so I don’t really know what to expect, to be honest, but I’ve been around trades and guys coming in and going. We have such a tightknit team. I think it’s just a process of just trusting management and what they have planned. At the end of the day, we have to get better as individuals as well.

There’s also interest in point guard Kyle Lowry, who could be available if the Raptors lose Kawhi Leonard in free agency. Because of Lowry’s age (33) and contract ($33 million for next season), the Lakers could bring him in for a relatively limited outgoing package. Another guy who, according to sources, the Lakers have an interest in is big man Derrick Favors. The Jazz have a team option on Favors that must be exercised by July 6 or he will be a free agent.

Favors knows many people view that cap space and the lure of another star player as the best means to vault the franchise toward title contention. He also knows he would have viable options elsewhere, with Donovan Mitchell recently claiming Favors could start for 80% of the teams in the league. He still hopes to return, though. “I have a team option; I need that option picked up! I would prefer to come back here,” he said. “The grass is not always greener on the other side. … I’m happy in the situation that I’m in, in the position that I’m in — I think it’s good for me and the organization.”

Favors strongly states that he loves the Jazz from top to bottom, whether it is ownership, management, the coaching staff or his teammates. Even so, the 26-year-old believes it is in his best interest to do his due diligence when free agency begins. “I’m definitely excited about being a free agent for the first time and pretty much getting a chance to control my own destiny,” Favors said. “I’m just trying to find the right situation that makes sense for me as a player. Be in the right spot. Get a chance to showcase my talent. Get a chance to showcase what I can do. I’m just focused on finding the right situation that is the right fit for me.”

With the Jazz on the rise and the environment strong, Favors admitted that the franchise would be tough to leave. He said if Utah offers him a “good situation that fits” perfectly, he would likely re-sign quickly. “I really do enjoy being out there,” Favors said. “I enjoyed all of my teammates. I enjoy the organization, the front office and the coaching staff. I love everything about Utah. It is definitely a business. There might be a situation where I do have to leave. It would be tough. But you have to put yourself in the right situation, because the teams are going to do that for themselves, too. You just have to find the right situation.”

“I’m definitely excited about being a free agent for the first time and pretty much getting a chance to control my own destiny,” Favors said. “I’m just trying to find the right situation that makes sense for me as a player. Be in the right spot. Get a chance to showcase my talent. Get a chance to showcase what I can do. I’m just focused on finding the right situation that is the right fit for me.” Favors is in favor of visiting teams during free agency. “I don’t think you get a really good feel over the phone,” Favors said. “I’d rather be face-to-face in a meeting, ask questions and kind of figure stuff out.”

“It was a great season for me,” Favors said. “I think I exceeded a lot of expectations in a sense. I know there was a lot of question of how I would come back after the season before being injured a lot and with the way they are playing now basically with [small forward] at [power forward]. People wondered if I could guard the perimeter. I know there was a lot of question on whether me and Rudy could fit offensively. I know I went out and proved a lot of people wrong. “I didn’t have the best stats because I had to sacrifice a lot. In terms of basketball, I exceeded a lot of expectations.”

Favors — the athletic power forward — will be the most visible internal free agent for the Jazz this summer. And he knows his freedom on the unrestricted market can go a number of different ways once July 1 rolls around. “The communication has been good,” Favors told The Salt Lake Tribune this week. “I’m pretty sure me and my agent [Wallace Prather] will get a meeting set up, and we’ll figure some things out. I know they want me back, and I want to come back. But, it’s a business and a numbers game, so we’ll have to see.”

As for Favors and Exum, Lindsey wouldn’t say he expected to sign both players, although he did say he “hoped” to have both players back for next season. “He’s a good player on a good team and Derrick is very consistent in his want to be back here,” Lindsey said. “I think he understands what he has here and we certainly understand what he produces. His agent is a terrific person and that’s been able to carve out good deals for both sides, so I don’t see any initial obstacles. Derrick’s got to go through this process, but that’s my hope (he’ll be back).”

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.”
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