The Utah Jazz sat the first night of NBA Free Agency out—presumably because nothing came out of the rumor mill—but they were hitting the market much harder on day two. It appears Utah is trying to keep as much of their team together as possible. Dennis Lindsey either believes that this teams ceiling is even higher than last year’s or doesn’t see a path for raising their ceiling through higher profile free agents. Here’s your review.
The Utah Jazz and Derrick Favors met for three hours in Atlanta yesterday. It really does appear that Utah wants Favors back.
Derrick Favors met for 5 hours with Dennis Lindsey, Quin Snyder and Tony Lang, according to League Sources. The meeting went very well, sources say, although Favors hasn't made a decision on his future— Tony Jones (@tribjazz) July 2, 2018
3 hrs— Derrick Favors (@dfavors14) July 2, 2018
Signing Derrick Favors this year to a one year deal might just be the best option available for the Utah Jazz. He gives the Jazz flexibility to rest Rudy Gobert significant minutes throughout the season while Rudy Gobert does the same for Derrick Favors. The Utah Jazz are able to have 48 minutes of solid defense in the middle over the course of a game.
One big difference in Utah going after Derrick Favors in free agency is they are most likely being up front about Favors’ future role with the team which isn’t going to gradually (or drastically) lessen as the NBA continues to evolve. That might motivate Favors to look at teams who want to offer him more security long term.
Additionally, one big thing yesterday may have altered Utah’s plans. You might have heard about some guy named LeBron James chose to leave Cleveland—again—for Los Angeles. That leaves someone behind back in Cleveland.
With LeBron James out of Cleveland, Kevin Love is most likely the next man out. Cleveland will be trying to clear the books and get as many assets as possible as they again enter rebuilding mode for the second time in LeBron James career. Kevin Love being available does not mean Utah has to change course on any of their offseason plans. Derrick Favors can still be a priority for Utah AND Kevin Love can still be a priority for Utah. Cleveland is not going to be motivated to move Kevin Love until they believe they are getting peak value for the big man. That means that they might not move Kevin Love until midway through the season.
If the Utah Jazz sign Derrick Favors now, they can play this out and see how things go during the regular season. If Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert start to get bogged down in the middle and it hurts the Utah Jazz’s trajectory, Utah can make a move in December when Favors would be eligible to be traded and adjust.
That doesn’t mean most aren’t linking the Utah Jazz to Kevin Love. Love has a home in Park City and even knew the Jazz’s mantra of “The Strength of the team is the team.” He’d fit right into the Jazz’s culture no problem.
I think a west team is gonna get Kevin Love. Utah, Portland and OKC could all use him. OKC could toss them Melo’s expiring and future 1sts. Portland would have to use future firsts and one of their bad deals (problem is they are all two year deals). Utah has multiple options.— Nate Jones (@JonesOnTheNBA) July 2, 2018
We’ll see what happens, but Utah has done another thing that makes it appear that they are looking at putting pieces together for a future trade.
The Utah Jazz had until 11:59 EST to decide whether they were cutting Thabo Sefolosha loose or guaranteeing his contract. They chose the latter. Thabo Sefolosha is now a Jazzman for the 2018-2019 season.
When looking at the context of a future possible trade, Utah gather expiring contracts seems to be the way to go as they look forward to acquiring another big piece. Teams like the Cavaliers, Hornets, and others will be looking for partners to relieve them of their terrible financial decisions. Utah can come swooping in with their expiring deals and provide luxury tax relief while charging a premium for the service.
If Thabo is able to come back from his injury and provide valuable minutes, Utah has the best of both worlds. A capable defender who can stretch the floor at the 3/4 position and a valuable piece that can be added in a trade to provide a future trade partner cap relief.
This wouldn’t be the sexiest signing—unless you’re like most and think Booker himself is quite sexy—but time is a flat circle in free agency. Teams are out on the market looking for the 14th/15th men on their rosters at the same time as they are starters and sixth men. Trevor Booker would be in the category of end of the bench filler. Which wouldn’t be the worst thing to have as a playoff team. Booker bounced around three teams last year (Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers), and is presumably looking for something more comfortable. With Utah, he’d find a familiar face an be able to provide a good locker room presence at presumably a minimum contract. Most likely he’d be the replacement for Jonas Jerebko and only be getting minutes in times of injury or severe foul trouble.