The Utah Jazz and Derrick Favors have reached a four-year contract extension that will pay the 22-year-old forward more than $12 million a season, Yahoo! Sports reports.
Favors was the centerpiece of the package Utah received from the Nets in 2011 in return for All-Star point guard Deron Williams. The Jazz would not confirm the extension late Friday, but according to Yahoo!, Favors’ deal is worth at least $49 million and includes incentives that would push it "well over" $50 million.
The third overall pick in the 2010 draft, Favors would have been a restricted free agent at the end of this season without the extension, and Utah would have risked the possibility of having to match a better offer from another team or let him walk. Instead, the new deal shows the Jazz’s commitment to Favors, who averaged 9.4 points, 7.1 boards and 1.7 blocks per game for Utah last year.
Favors’ offensive game has been a source of concern, but at practice Friday, Jazz coach Ty Corbin said the Georgia Tech product could be one of the league’s best defenders.
"I like his abilities," Corbin said. "His quickness off the floor, the range he has, along with his body and the way he can cover area from point A to point B. I think he has the opportunity to be one of the best big-men defenders in the league this year, and we’re looking forward to him growing in that area."
The deal would place Favors somewhere between Milwaukee’s Larry Sanders and Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, two post players drafted the same year.
Cousins, the No. 4 overall pick in 2010, signed a four-year max extension earlier this year that will pay him a reported $62 million. Cousins has produced for the Kings, averaging 16.3 points and 9.8 rebounds a night during his three-year career.
Sanders, a center the Bucks took with the 15th pick, signed a four-year $44 million extension.
With the departure this offseason of Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, Utah appears to have gone all in on Favors and center Enes Kanter, who was drafted with a pick acquired in the Williams deal. Favors’ agent Wallace Prathers would neither confirm nor deny the extension.
The Jazz may not be done either. Swingman Gordon Hayward, also a 2010 selection, is eligible for an extension until Oct. 31. After that, he will become a restricted free agent, eligible to test the market next summer.
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