Derrick Favors, Matt Boland

Report: Derrick Favors agrees to 4-year, $49 million contract extension with Jazz


When the Jazz let both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap walk in free agency without getting anything in return, that was a sign that they were ready to turn the franchise over to their young players.

The large contract extension just offered and agreed to by Derrick Favors is the team putting its money where its mouth is.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Derrick Favors has reached agreement on a four-year, $49 million-plus contract extension with the Utah Jazz, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The deal includes bonus incentives that could push the package well over $50 million, sources said. …

With ideal size at 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, and merely the age of a college senior, Favors could’ve commanded a $13 million annual salary from several teams in restricted free agency next summer, executives told Yahoo Sports.

The extension provides some security for both sides.

Favors has all the tools to be a dominant power forward in the league, especially defensively. But he hasn’t yet played starter’s minutes anywhere close to a full 82-game season. Since coming to Utah as the key piece in the trade that sent Deron Williams to the Nets, Favors has started just 17 games in total over the last two seasons.

On the team side, Utah is being smart by locking up their promising young talent sooner rather than later. Big men who produce in this league get consistently overpaid, and all indications are that Favors would have received an offer greater than this next summer, and one that Utah would have had a hard time not matching in restricted free agency.

Favors averaged 9.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.7 blocked shots in 23.2 minutes per game last season. He should put up even more impressive numbers as a starter, which is the reason the Jazz felt so confident in locking him up with a long-term extension.

Gallinari ready to take big role in new Nuggets offense

Danilo Gallinari, Jimmy Butler
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DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari wants everyone to know this: His surgically repaired left knee, the one that took three procedures to fix and nearly two seasons to fully trust, no longer bothers him.

The Denver Nuggets forward doesn’t need to be on any sort of minutes restriction. He doesn’t need days off during the season. And he certainly doesn’t need to be coddled.

He’s Gallo again, the hard-to-guard Italian playmaker who can knock down the 3-pointer just as easily as drive to the hoop or even post up. He believes he will fit in quite nicely into new coach Michael Malone’s system.

“The thing I’m focused on is trying to get (this team) back to the same level that the Nuggets were when I got to Denver, when we were going to the playoffs easy. When we were clinching a playoff one or two weeks before the season was over,” said Gallinari, who was acquired in the 2011 blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. “We need to get back to that level.”

Almost seems so long ago, given that the Nuggets have missed the playoffs two straight seasons after consistently making it for nearly a decade.

Gallinari returned last season for the first time since blowing out his knee in a game on April 4, 2013. His minutes were closely monitored early in the season. He never really got completely on track until late last season, when he averaged 20.5 points over the final 10 contests, including a career-high 47 against Dallas. He’s hoping to carry that kind of confidence this season.

“I’m good to go. I was good to go as soon as the beginning of last year,” Gallinari said. “I was not on the same page with the coach that we had.”

That would be Brian Shaw, who was fired last March after 1 1/2 seasons in charge and going 56-85. Exactly why he wasn’t on the same page with Shaw, well, Gallinari preferred the past remain the past.

“I’m ready to play the new season,” he said. “We need to win games, and get back to the same level we were before.”

Gallinari thinks the Nuggets have the personnel to do just that, especially with a rookie point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay and Gallinari’s knee feeling better than it has in a while. He feels like he has some ground to make up, too, since he said that knee robbed him of some of his prime.

“Playing my best basketball right before I got injured,” the 27-year old said. “Now, we’re back to the same level, hopefully better.

“My knee has been feeling great. It felt great last year. Feeling great during the summer. Feeling great now. I just feel good.”

He spent the summer playing for the Italian team at the EuroBasket tournament, where he averaged nearly 18 points a game. In those games, Gallinari saw quite a bit of time at the four spot on the floor, forcing teams to either use a bulkier big man to cover him and risk getting burned on a drive or a smaller player that Gallinari could simply shoot over.

Malone plans to employ a similar type approach, something they discussed over gelato when the coach visited Gallinari in Italy soon after he was hired.

“He’s 6-foot-10. He can handle the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He can stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Malone said. “There’s not a lot he can’t do offensively.”

Gallinari wants the responsibility of being the go-to player for the Nuggets this season, especially at crunch time.

“I’ve always been trying to do that, since I came to Denver,” Gallinari said. “That’s what I like to do. I feel good filling those shoes.

“I want to have the ball in my hands. I do want to have the ball in my hands a lot more.”

Knicks’ Rookie Jerian Grant gets up, throws it down (VIDEO)

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The Knicks did well trading for Jerian Grant on date night — he’s going to be able to walk in this year and play quality minutes off the bench.

And, he can get up and throw it down.

Carmelo Anthony had 18 points to lead the Knicks to a 94-88 win over the Sixers.