It’s not the first time that Derrick Favors has been through this song and dance.
“I could go back years and years ago and name each guy I was supposed to be traded for,” Favors said after Wednesday’s shootaround. “Every year, I can just name them. I have fun with it.”
This year, the rumor is from The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor — the writer, not the former Jazz general manager of the same name. And it has Favors as a potential trade candidate in exchange for Chicago’s Jabari Parker. As O’Connor describes it, “Favors is an awkward fit next to center Rudy Gobert, and his $16.9 million on the books for next season is non-guaranteed, meaning he could be one of the pieces involved.”
Jazz management sources, however, told The Salt Lake Tribune that they’ve had no conversations regarding any deal with Chicago management this season.
Thanks to signing a deal this offseason in which the Jazz used Favors' Bird rights and that he got more than a 20 percent raise from the previous season, according to the league’s collective bargaining agreement, Favors isn’t eligible to be traded until Jan. 15, 2019, nearly a month away.
There’s also a legitimate question of whether or not such a deal would be wise from the Jazz’s perspective. Parker has just been removed from the Bulls rotation by new head coach Jim Boylen, because of his poor defensive play. Parker can score, which the Jazz need, but not once in his five-year NBA career have his teams had a positive plus-minus with him on the floor. Parker has played for flawed teams (Milwaukee for his first four years, but especially Chicago now), but his teams have always been better with him off the floor than on it.
Knowing how the Jazz value Favors, heavy skepticism is warranted that they would move the big man for Parker. The Jazz do need spacing that a scorer like Parker could provide, but taking a chance like this on a defensive liability isn’t how Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey has operated in the past. Now, if Parker ends up accepting a buyout, or is waived from the Bulls, then one could see the Jazz pursuing the power forward. There’s also the question from Chicago’s point of view of whether or not they’d want Favors, given their roster is full of young big men.
So when Favors hears trade rumors like Wednesday’s, he laughs.
“I definitely use it for motivation, but I just have fun with it. I look forward to it," Favors said. "Who I’m going to get traded for this year? Where are the rumors at?”
And his teammates note the speculation doesn’t change his behavior.
“From what I’ve heard from the other people in the league, guys don’t react to that kindly, they take exception to that and kind of stop caring,” Donovan Mitchell said about players named in trade rumors. “That’s not the case with Fav, and that’s a unique talent, to put all of that to the side and just focus on the day-to-day.
“We care about Fav, and he cares about us. He’s one of the first guys there, always putting in work, working extra, working hard.”