1. Fair Market-Value
Two other bigs from the 2010 NBA Draft Class have signed extensions. #5-overall pick DeMarcus Cousins signed a maximum 4-year $62 million extension while the 15th-overall selection Larry Sanders signed a 4-year $44 million deal.
Favors’ deal falls between both. He doesn’t possess the pure offensive ability of Cousins, but he’s a much better defensive player (Cousins has been a horrible defender and their offensive efficiency is comparable). Although he doesn’t quite put up the gaudy shot-blocking numbers Sanders does, I consider Favors’ a slightly better defender in terms of being able to show&recover on screen-roll, having the size to guard power players in the post and being able to rebound the ball at both ends. Offensively Favors scores at a slightly better rate and gets to the FT line more.
Other bigmen who have come to terms on long-term contracts in the 2013 NBA offseason (ranked by annual salary in descending order):
-Dwight Howard: 4-years/$88 million
-DeMarcus Cousins: 4/years/$62 million
-Al Jefferson: 3-years/$41 million
-Josh Smith: 4-years/$54 million
-Derrick Favors: 4-years/$49 million
-Nikola Pekovic: 5-years/$60 million
-Larry Sanders: 4-years/$44 million
-Tiago Splitter: 4-years/$36 million
-Carl Landry: 4-years/$26million
You could say Favors’ deal is a few million too high or that before it’s all said and done should actually be a few million higher and you’ll get some arguments both ways but you wouldn’t get crazy looks. As of today it seems pretty fair.
I really didn’t expect an extension for Favors to get done. I figured Favors’ camp would hold out for a near max-contract (with the belief he could get one next year if not now) and that the Jazz brass would balk at paying more than the $11-million Larry Sanders received in his deal (two players with similar production even though Sanders received more minutes than Favors).
In the end both sides met in the middle, with Favors taking less than the max and the Jazz offering more than Sanders’ deal.
3. 2014 And Beyond
How does this affect Utah’s salary cap situation in 2014?
Let’s hypothesize and say Favors’ extension starts at an even $12 million, and go further and assume Hayward re-ups starting at $11 million flat (unlikely that’s the case but just play along with these reasonable salary figures). Disregarding cap holds as well as 2014 rookie salaries, the Jazz presently have 7 guaranteed contracts on the books for 2014-15 likely totaling in the $30-million range.
Comparing that with the 2013-14 salary requirements – Utah could quite realistically have around to $15-18 million in cap room (dependent on renouncing cap holds/2014 draft picks).
2014 Utah Jazz Player Salaries
|13-14 Min: $52.811mm||~Min:||$16,443,494||$15,471,112|
|13-14 Cap: $58.679mm||~Cap:||$22,311,494||$21,339,112|
|13-14 Tax: $71.748mm||~Tax:||$35,380,494||$34,408,112|
Next offseason both Enes Kanter and Alec Burks will be due contract extensions. As I’ve written before, re-signing Favors, Hayward, Kanter and Burks is unrealistic because while you’re likely to slightly overpay on that first extension following the rookie contract (when potential often still outweighs production) – multiplying that excess by 4 is simply not wise business considering it’s unlikely all four ever reach a game-changing or superstar status (for whom you’re willing to overpay). So while it’s possible one large-money extension will kick in for the 2015-16 season, you still afford yourself the luxury of signing a high-end 2014 free agent – not quite a max-guy, but someone in the $8-10 million range (Granger? Deng?) who can solidify a position.
Additionally, Utah holds 6 first-round picks over the next 4 drafts including two #1’s in the loaded 2014 draft. They have assets, young talent and even with Favors’ extension they still have cap room. That trifecta is what you dream for when you’re rebuilding.
4. $49 million worth of pressure is better than RFA pressure
While Favors’ now faces the
burden challenge of living up to his $49 million contract extension, he also no longer carries the pressure of playing this season for a new contract. Finally being given a fair opportunity, it will ultimately come down to how driven he is and if he can stay healthy. While we’re not 100% sure on either, I feel a lot better with those unknowns than with a 22-year old who is not only suddenly playing a major role on a team with a talent-depleted supporting cast – but also with the weight of being a leader who is facing the uncertainty of restricted free agency.
5. It Makes Ty’s Job Easier
Favors’ long-term contract will make head coach Ty Corbin’s job so much easier this season. We’ve been told repeatedly how much of a challenge it was for Corbin in 2012-13 to deal with 8-9 players who were pending free agents. This year’s Jazz figured to have 7 potential free agents and Favors’ extension reduces that number by 1 which lessens the incredibly unfair and extreme circumstance Ty faced last season. And that’s a wonderful thing.
Durability wasn’t an issue for a 23-year old Andrei Kirilenko – who played in 240 out of 246 regular season games before signing a 6-year/$86 million extension in 2004. Once Tony Parker fell into his knee on November 27, 2004, AK would miss an average of 18 games over the next 8 seasons.
Nobody knows if Favors’ extension will turn out to be a steal like Paul Millsap in 2009 (when many said matching a 4-year/$32 million offer-sheet was too much for a backup PF) or four more years where production never meets promise. That’s the risk you take when you relegate lottery picks to bench roles for the first three seasons of their career. Nobody freaked out when Deron Williams signed a 4-year/$70 million extension in 2008 because we knew by then he was worth it. While we don’t know if Favors will live up to expectations, we do know Al Jefferson is a talented low-post player who can’t lead a team to a playoff victory so you can’t say we’ve learned nothing from the past two seasons. (Not trying to knock Big Al, just showing how Utah’s misguided and short-sighted 2012-13 strategy is still biting them in the rear).
What the Jazz did was gamble that Favors will meet his potential in a manner that saves them a few million bucks down the road – money that can be spent on extensions for his fellow teammates or on potential free agents. I like Derrick Favors and I think in two years (remember his extension doesn’t kick-in until 2014-15) nobody will be worrying if Utah overpaid him.
Favors and Kanter were the crown jewels in “the Deron Williams trade.” Deron re-upped with Brooklyn for 5 more years last offseason, it seems only fitting that Favors’ re-signed with the Jazz to extend the final verdict of that trade. A lot can happen in those 4 years, just ask Deron Williams.