It’s been felt for a few years now that the Utah Jazz have discovered the core they will build around in Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert. With the offseason addition of point guard George Hill, as well as veteran Joe Johnson, it appears the Jazz’s future has arrived, with their strong defense putting them in playoff contention for the first time in a few years.
Based on a rumor that came out today though, it seems the Utah front office may not be ready to lock down their young core entirely.
Reason being: Utah’s cap space can be used to make a robust in-season extension offer to either point guard George Hill or big man Derrick Favors.
“According to the latest rumbles in circulation on the matter, Hill has emerged as Utah’s priority here.”
— Marc Stein via ESPN
This is a surprising revelation out of Utah for sure. Hill has brought an important veteran element to the Jazz, especially on offense, where the lack of competent point guard play has sunk them in years past.
But there’s a good argument to be made that Favors is their best player. And while this rumor doesn’t guarantee the end of Favors in a Jazz uniform, it certainly isn’t a good sign for the chances a small-market team retains a star at an under-populated position in the league who is set to be a free agent after next year.
The extension for Hill would likely be cheaper than the extension for Favors. So by putting it off a year, perhaps the Jazz are buying insurance in case this team doesn’t come together like they are hoping. If they don’t, they may seek a trade built around Favors, or let him walk in exchange for flexibility.