The New Orleans Pelicans may have let Julius Randle walk away on a free and sign a new three-year contract with the New York Knicks, as reported on Sunday by Forbes. However, the team appears to be reloading with another former lottery pick at the power forward position.
As documented by Bleacher Report, the Pelicans and the Utah Jazz – per a tweet from The Athletic’s Tony Jones – have reportedly agreed to a trade that would send Derrick Favors to New Orleans, in exchange for a pair of future second-round picks. The publication noted that the Jazz had no choice but to trade or waive Favors, since they ran out of salary cap space after they agreed to sign free agent small forward Bojan Bogdanovic — most recently a starter for the Indiana Pacers — to a four-year contract worth $73 million.
After debuting for the then-New Jersey Nets in 2010 as the third overall pick in that year’s draft, Favors spent the next eight seasons playing for the Jazz, where he established himself as the team’s starting power forward. While he averaged a decent 11.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, and shot an impressive 58.6 percent from the field in the 2018-19 season, Bleacher Report noted that Favors’ minutes have been trending downward in recent seasons, as current NBA trends have led to the emergence of a growing number of big men who can consistently score from outside.
As noted on Twitter by Adrian Wojnarowski, Favors will likely be replaced in part by journeyman forward/center Ed Davis, who agreed to a two year, $10 million contract with Utah, after coming off the bench last season for the Brooklyn Nets. Davis averaged 5.8 points and 8.6 rebounds in 17.9 minutes per game for the Nets in the 2018-19 season, per Basketball-Reference.
Derrick Favors’ reported trade to the Pelicans marks the second big move New Orleans has made since this year’s free agency period kicked off on Sunday night. As noted by ClutchPoints, the Pelicans also came to terms with J.J. Redick — who had last played for the Philadelphia 76ers — and agreed to sign the free agent shooting guard to a two year contract worth $26.5 million. Both Favors and Redick are expected to provide much-needed experience to a young Pelicans team that will be adding Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart to their roster once the Anthony Davis trade with the Los Angeles Lakers becomes official.
In addition to the above players, New Orleans will also be welcoming a number of promising rookies to the team, including this year’s first overall selection, former Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson.