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

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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.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.