SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Hours after the 2021 NBA Draft had reached its conclusion, which included a trade by the Utah Jazz to move back in the selection process to pick former Baylor guard Jared Butler, the team has dealt longtime center Derrick Favors to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Favors and a future first-round pick were sent to the Thunder in exchange for a future second-round selection. The move is largely considered to be a salary cap dump by the Jazz, freeing up additional cap room for other moves this off-season.
Last season, Favors averaged 5.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 15.3 minutes in 68 games backing up Rudy Gobert.
This is the second time that Favors has been traded away by the Jazz, who sent the now 30-year-old to the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2019 offseason. Favors returned to Utah prior to the past season in a reduced role on a 3-year, $27-million contract.
The Jazz are trying to free up salary cap space in order to re-sign unrestricted free agent point guard Mike Conley. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Jazz are preparing a 3-year, $75-million offer to Conley, who has been with the Jazz the last two years.
Favors was a central figure in a 2010 trade that brought the big man to Utah in a deal that sent former All-Star guard Deron Williams to the then-New Jersey Nets. The former star at Georgia Tech became a valuable contributor for the Jazz and spent a large part of his time in Utah as the starting center for the team. With the emergence of Rudy Gobert as an elite defender, Favors saw his role decreased but was frequently lauded as an excellent and willing teammate.
Utah’s 2020 first-round pick, Udoka Azubuike, who played limited minutes for the NBA’s top regular-season team, could see an increase in playing time as a result of the move. Or the Jazz could bring in another big man in free agency.
For his career, Favors holds averages of 10.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.