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Derrick Favors of the New Orleans Pelicans and Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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Favors, Clarkson Ensure Quality Bench For Jazz

Derrick Favors of the New Orleans Pelicans and Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz reportedly signed a pair of familiar names soon after free agency opened across the NBA Friday night. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Jazz re-signed guard Jordan Clarkson to a four-year, $52 million deal. Shortly after, Tony Jones of The Athletic reported that former Jazzman Derrick Favors would return to the Jazz on a three-year deal using the Mid-Level Exception.

The Jazz entered free agency with the Mid-Level Exception at their disposal, as well as the Bi-Annual Exception which remains unused. With the nearly $80 million investment in players who don’t project to start next season, the Jazz have guaranteed themselves one of the strongest bench units in the NBA.

Despite being over the salary cap, the Jazz were able to resign Clarkson due to owning his Bird rights, which allows teams to retain their own players by spending money over the cap.

Favors And Clarkson Will Help Fix Bench Struggles

During the 2019-20 season, the Jazz had a strong starting unit featuring Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, either Royce O’Neale or Joe Ingles, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Rudy Gobert.

However, the team’s talent often cratered when the second unit would step onto the floor. Clarkson helped stabilize the unit after the Jazz acquired him in exchange for former lottery pick Dante Exum, but the team struggled when Gobert was on the bench.

Now, with the addition of Favors, the Jazz have a defensive anchor and a reliable pick and roll threat to supplant Gobert on the bench. The move will be a particularly welcome addition for veteran guard Joe Ingles who saw a sharp decline in the second unit without a reliable roll man.

The Jazz traded Favors to the New Orleans Pelicans last offseason to clear space to sign Bogdanovic. The team had hoped reserves Ed Davis and Tony Bradley could absorb Favors minutes, but Davis was an awkward fit and Bradley was difficult to keep on the postseason.

Favors averaged just nine points for the Pelicans last year, the lowest total since his third season in the NBA, but grabbed a career-high 9.8 rebounds per game in New Orleans.

The big man first joined the Jazz just four months into his rookie season. The Jazz sent disgruntled guard Deron Williams to the then-New Jersey Nets in exchange for Favors and All-Star point guard Devin Harris.

Favors held career averages of 11.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.1 assists during his eight and a half year stint with the Jazz.

The NBA season is set to open on December 22, with individual workouts beginning on December 1.

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