With the NBA scheduled to lift trade restrictions on newly signed free agents on Sunday, New Orleans Pelicans big man Derrick Favors is reportedly one of the players being monitored by rival teams as a potential midseason acquisition.
In a report published Wednesday on Heavy, Sean Deveney wrote that Favors, who has missed several games due to injuries and personal reasons, is being “monitored” by multiple teams. While the veteran NBA insider noted that there haven’t been any signs so far that the Pelicans will be shopping their veteran players and “[looking] ahead to next season,” he added that the team is currently near the bottom of the Western Conference with a 6-18 record that includes nine consecutive losses. Given that, Favors could reportedly have some value in the trade market if he plays well in the coming weeks and New Orleans continues to struggle.
“He was in Utah for just about all his career and it looks like he struggled to adjust in New Orleans and that is something you worry about,” said an unnamed league executive who spoke to Deveney.
“But look, he is a dependable big guy. He can play better defense than he’s played this season. He is a good rebounder. He can give you 12, 15 points. Defenses can’t afford to lose him, he can make you pay. There’s going to be teams looking for a guy like that.”
The executive added that New Orleans already has someone who can contribute if given the minutes Favors should be getting in the team’s big man rotation — 2019 first-round pick Jaxson Hayes, who has shown promise as a spot starter at center. Per Basketball-Reference, the 19-year-old Hayes is averaging 9.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.1 blocked shots in just 21.2 minutes per game for the Pelicans.
Derrick Favors is back with the squad ???? pic.twitter.com/vb0FQxscjY
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) December 9, 2019
As of this writing, Favors has played just nine games for the Pelicans, averaging 8.3 points — the lowest since his rookie season in 2010-11 — but also pulling down a career-best 8.9 rebounds per game. Heavy also noted that the 28-year-old forward/center is similarly posting career-high numbers in shooting, with a 62.1 percent clip in the limited time he’s seen this season.
Although no trade packages involving current players — or specific suitors among rival teams — were mentioned in Deveney’s report, he stressed that Favors’ value might be compromised by his lack of production this season, as well as the fact that he is in the last year of his contract. As such, he wrote that the former Georgia Tech big man could be acquired for “a couple” of future second-round draft selections, which the Pelicans can add to its growing collection of future picks.