As the Los Angeles Lakers seek to build a championship-worthy roster around LeBron James, Utah Jazz big man Derrick Favors could be called upon to help fill out the team.
Should the Jazz not exercise his option for the 2019-20 season, the Lakers would be interested in signing him, according to The Athletic.
The 19-20 option is the final year in his two-year $37 million deal and is worth $16 million. Per the report, the Jazz would like to keep Favors, but would also like to be active on the free-agent market to help bolster their 50-win squad.
“Derrick Favors isn’t part of the problem,” Jazz executive Dennis Lindsey said. “He’s part of the solution. Of course we want to bring him back.”
It’s important to note that the report came out before the Lakers agreed to a blockbuster trade for former New Orleans Pelicans’ star Anthony Davis. Still, the final details of the trade help make a pursuit of Favors that much more likely.
The trade, which is yet to be announced by both teams, has the Lakers sending Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and a bevy of first-round picks, including this year’s No. 4 overall pick to the Pelicans in exchange for Davis.
Without Ingram, the Lakers’ front court currently involves last year’s first-round pick Moritz Wagner, Kyle Kuzma, James and Davis. Both Tyson Chandler and JaVale McGee are on one-year contracts and will become free agents.
The team traded away Ivica Zubac to the Los Angeles Clippers earlier in the season in exchange for Mike Muscala.
Favors would provide an instant boost for the Lakers on the court. This season, he averaged 11.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. He would also be entering his age-28 season which would make him younger than both Chandler and McGee.
Whatever happens, Favors said he won’t be stressed out. Instead, he’ll be on vacation with his family and if a call comes bringing news of his fate, he’ll deal with it then.
“It is what it is,” Favors said. “I’m not going to stress over it. I’m going to enjoy life that whole week. If I have to leave, I want to go to a contender because I want to compete at the highest level. I definitely want to go somewhere I can compete for a championship.”
The 2019 NBA free agency period commences on June 30.
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