At age 30, Derrick Favors may seem out of place on a rebuilding team, but he said spending this season with the Thunder helped him enjoy the game again, writes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Favors, who was acquired from the Jazz in a salary dump trade last summer, only played 39 games and sat out the final month of the season with back soreness, but he still says the experience was important.
“It brought back that fun,” Favors said, “that joy of playing basketball and not worrying about the business part, not worrying about personal life stuff, just having fun and … feeling that energy of being around 19-, 20-, 21-year-olds.”
Favors has already indicated that he will pick up his option for next season, which is worth $10.18MM, much more than he would make in free agency. However, that doesn’t guarantee he’ll back. Mussatto expects Oklahoma City to explore a trade this summer and possibly waive Favors to open a roster spot for one of its four picks in this year’s draft. However, Favors said at his exit interview that he “expects to be back.”
“I’m glad I’m here,” he said. “It opened my eyes to a lot of things. I just enjoy watching these young guys. I enjoy watching them come out and improve every game. I enjoy talking to (coach) Mark (Daigneault), and I enjoy being in this atmosphere.”
There’s more from the Northwest Division:
- The Nuggets may have to consider trading Will Barton this offseason to help upgrade their defense, suggests Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Barton, who has spent eight years with the team, has an expiring $14MM contract for next season and Denver may need a stronger defensive guard to pair with Jamal Murray as he returns from his ACL injury. Singer identifies Monte Morris and JaMychal Green as other players who might be moved.
- The Trail Blazers could be tempted to re-sign Ben McLemore to serve as a veteran shooter, according to Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. McLemore averaged 10.2 points per game and connected at 36.2% from three-point range after signing with Portland last offseason, and he can provide valuable roster depth for a team that hopes to bounce back next season.
- It’s time for the Jazz to break up the combination of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, argues Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports, who examines the potential trade market for each player.