Making Sense Of Latest Jazz Rumors

Jul 19, 2021, 12:09 PM
Derrick Favors - Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder...
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Matt Moore of the Action Network reported a series of rumors surrounding the Utah Jazz in his latest offseason article.

In the report, Moore wrote that the Jazz are anxious to move Derrick Favors just one year after signing him to a three-year, nearly $30 million contract. Favors, who turned 30 just last week has considerable wear on his tires after joining the NBA as a 19-year-old.

The big man was relegated to bench duty behind Rudy Gobert in his second stint with the Jazz and averaged just 15 minutes per game. With both Gobert and Donovan Mitchell having max contracts kick in this offseason, finding places to save money will be key for the Jazz luxury tax bill, which could leave Favors as the odd man out.

Additionally, Moore reported that the Jazz are actively listening to offers for Joe Ingles and Bojan Bogdanovic who provide significant offense for the Jazz, but could be available for a “significant upgrade.”

Finally, Moore also wrote that he’d been told by multiple league front office members that the Jazz plan to “run it back” next season and will bring back a similar roster to last season, assuming Mike Conely re-signs with the team.

So, what should be made of Moore’s report?

Jazz Rumor One: Moving Favors

First, on a simple cost to production ratio, moving Favors makes the most sense for the Jazz if they are looking to cut salary. Outside of a few strong performances in the first round of the playoffs, Favors looked like a replacement-level reserve for most of the season.

Now, Favors was brought it not only as a second-unit player, but also as an insurance policy for Gobert if the French superstar either missed significant time or didn’t re-sign with the Jazz during the season.

As it turned out, Gobert played 71 of the team’s 72 games and signed a contract extension with the Jazz in December, limiting Favors value.

But how aggressive should the Jazz be if they are attempting to trade Favors, and what should they expect the move to cost?

Favors was a starter for the New Orleans Pelicans just two seasons ago where he nearly averaged a double-double. At that level of production, Favors’ two years and $20 million contract should be easy to move.

However, if teams see him strictly as a reserve big man who is quickly approaching the end of his career, it may require attaching a first-round draft pick in a trade simply to get out of his deal.

With the number of high-priced deals already on the Jazz books, young players on cheap contracts should be a premium for the team, and the best way to acquire those players is through the draft. Would the Jazz be willing to give up another draft pick, knowing they likely won’t have their first-round pick next season to get out of Favors deal?

Jazz Rumor Two: Ingles And Bogdanovic

Second, should the Jazz look to move Ingles or Bogdanovic? This is probably a question that can’t be answered until the Jazz know what their future with Mike Conley looks like.

If Conley leaves, the Jazz would be hard-pressed to find a better point guard option than Ingles in the draft or free agency. Ingles has proven throughout his career, including in the Jazz latest playoff run that he’s more than capable of playing starting minutes on a good playoff team.

If Conley signs elsewhere, Ingles would buy the Jazz a full season to address their needs at point guard before his contract expires.

Similarly, Bogdanovic proved to be a viable second scoring option for the Jazz when they were playing without either Conley or Mitchell in the last two seasons. The Croatian was nearly an all-star two seasons ago as Conley struggled to find his footing with the Jazz. This past season he showed his ability to handle a huge scoring load when Conley and Mitchell missed games late in the schedule.

If Conley re-signs, he can carry Bogdanovic’s scoring load for the Jazz, and the team could benefit from replacing the forward with a more versatile defender who can also spread the floor. If he doesn’t, Bogdanovic’s scoring will be a major key to the Jazz future.

Ultimately, the only major move the Jazz could pursue from Moore’s report before they have a better understanding of Conley’s future would be attempting to trade Favors on draft night. Otherwise, Conley remains the team’s ultimate domino in their offseason plans.

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