The condensed offseason schedule for the NBA resulted in a frenzy of a week containing the NBA Draft on Wednesday and the start of free agency Friday, as the NBA eyes the start of camp on Dec. 1 and the season on Dec. 22.
The Utah Jazz struck two deals in less than two hours when free agency opened Friday that are likely to be fan favorites.
Sixth man Jordan Clarkson, who gave Utah a potent scoring punch after being acquired part way through last season, agreed to a four-year, $52 million deal to remain in Utah, according to multiple reports.
Then former Jazz big man Derrick Favors agreed to return to Utah, according to reports from The Athletic and The Associated Press, for three years and $27 million.
The Jazz return the core rotation of Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Royce O’Neale, Bojan Bodganovic and Rudy Gobert as starters, with Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles coming off the bench. Favors is likely to help sure up Utah’s bench unit as a defensive anchor.
Utah drafted 7-footer Udoka Azubuike and 6-foot-6 wing player Elijah Hughes in Wednesday’s draft, and traded big men Tony Bradley (Detroit) and Ed Davis (New York) to clear spots and some salary for Friday’s signings.
Additionally, KSL and 1280 The Zone report the Jazz will sign BYU sharpshooter Jake Toolson to an Exhibit 10 contract — a one-year, minimum contract to bring a player in for a tryout and also retain their rights to assign them to a G League team if they decide to waive the player.
Clarkson, a 6-foot-4 guard entering his seventh season in the NBA, played 42 games for the Jazz after being swapped for Dante Exum during the season, and enjoyed the most efficient scoring of his career with 15.6 points per game on 46.2% shooting while averaging 24.7 minutes off the bench. His addition instantly lifted a bench unit that struggled mightily to score before the move.
Favors brings a defensive presence that Utah’s bench lacked any time Rudy Gobert was not on the floor. Favors, a 6-foot-9 forward entering his 11th season, was acquired by Utah during his rookie season in a trade that sent Deron Williams to New Jersey in 2011, then spent the rest of that and nine more seasons with the Jazz. He signed with New Orleans last season when the Jazz made a splash by signing Bogdanovic.
Favors has averaged 11.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in his career.