Favors, Clarkson And The Utah Jazz Offseason Plans
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz season ended disappointingly, casting the team rapidly into a critical offseason. With just one year remaining on Mike Conley’s deal, the Jazz need to reload the roster in hopes of a deeper playoff run. In the latest episode of the Jazz Notes Podcast, Ben Anderson of KSL Sports and Sarah Todd of the Deseret News discuss the Jazz offseason options, including Derrick Favors, Jordan Clarkson, and how to improve the roster.
You can listen to the full audio of the podcast in the player below. Additionally, this article features excerpts from the conversation with Anderson and Todd.
Was the Jazz Season a Success?
After a furious comeback to erase a 19 point deficit, the Jazz came up short against the Denver Nuggets. With the loss, the Jazz were again eliminated in the playoffs in the first round against an arguably inferior opponent to last season’s Houston Rockets squad. Was the Jazz season a success or a failure?
Todd: “If you’re looking at just the seven-game series, that’s probably a failure from the Jazz having a 3-1 lead and just failing to close it out. But I think that the fact that the Jazz were able to come through this season, and what we heard from the players after that game, I think if you look at what the players said, especially Donovan [Mitchell] and Rudy [Gobert], you have to think that it’s successful because of the way that they’re looking at the future. It was a prideful and hopeful state.”
Anderson: “For overall season goals and preseason expectations, it was an absolute failure in my opinion. You have to get past the first round when you add $100 million in salaries like they did for guys committed over the next couple of seasons between Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic. And the expectation was maybe a Western Conference Finals appearance and for the second year in a row now, you didn’t get out of the first round.
“But I think this has a chance to be one of those seasons that you look back on and say ‘that’s a turning point for the organization.’ And you and I’ve talked about it a lot, this loss of innocence for Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert where they hit this maturation point in their development.”
Should the Jazz bring back Favors?
As the Jazz struggled with depth, specifically in the frontcourt throughout the season, bringing back former center Derrick Favors has been a topic of conversation for many Jazz fans. Todd and Anderson discussed the idea.
Anderson: “Many Jazz fans have placed their hopes solely on Derrick Favors, and getting the mid-level exception. You probably can have him at that number. But maybe you can spend that money smarter elsewhere and get another player. Ideally, you’re playing Favors 15 minutes. You’re not playing Favors 40 minutes anymore because you can’t play he and Gobert on the floor together. You shouldn’t be playing him and Gobert on the floor together. So he should only be getting back up minutes. And I don’t want to give a guy a full mid-level exception if he’s only a backup five because those guys aren’t worth that much.”
Todd: “Favors might have an interest in coming to Utah, but he also might have an interest in playing with Zion [Williamson] for the next couple of years. And that that might look like a better outlook as far as playoff longevity or title hopes if that’s what he’s looking for. Those are all going to play into those decisions. And so I don’t think that just because there is an interest that anything is guaranteed.”
Bringing back Jordan Clarkson
One priority for the Jazz should be re-signing Jordan Clarkson when free agency opens in late October. Clarkson was an immediate fit with the team after being acquired in December but is an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Todd: “This is the first time that Clarkson gets to let suitors woo him in free agency, and they’re absolutely going to. And part of the reason that he’s going to have multiple teams that are going to want to look at him is because of how he was able to impact Utah’s bench from December until now. So I think it’s fair for him to be a little non-committal. I also think it’s fair for Jazz fans and for the Jazz to expect that they could make him an offer that’s better than anyone else could make him right now.”
Anderson: “And one of the things we shouldn’t rule out is just because you’re resigning Jordan Clarkson, you’re giving him three years and $45 million. I think that’s the concept, but you could do what the Los Angeles Lakers have been doing with Kenavious Caldwell-Pope over the last couple of years and say ‘We’ll give you one year and $18 million and everyone else is offering you two years and $30 million. So take the money and hit the free agency market again next year.”
You can listen to the entire podcast, including other options for the Jazz this offseason, and thoughts recapping the season on Itunes.