Derrick Favors a sleeper trade target

There’s a number of players that fans across New England have been clamoring for Danny Ainge to trade for.

Names like Jimmy Butler and Gordon Hayward have run rampant through the rumor mill for years by now and everyone can probably drop another name or two that’s on their wish list, but a teammate of Hayward’s out in Utah might be expendable to the Jazz right now and it would be worth it for Danny Ainge to at least place a phone call to test the waters.

Derrick Favors had a career year last season by averaging 16.4 PPG and 8.1 RPG as it finally looked like the former third overall pick was coming into his own, but injuries hampered the power forward early on this year and he’s averaging just 21.1 minutes per game since returning in mid-December while jumping between the starting lineup and the bench. The Jazz have the depth down low to move on from Favors with both Rudy Gobert and Trey Lyles on the rise to go along with proven veteran Boris Diaw, so if the right offer came along they would really need to think hard about taking it.

It might feel like Favors has been in the league forever, but he’s still just 25-year old as he plays out his seventh NBA season. Favors is also under contract next year at just $12 million, so he’d provide an instant upgrade over Amir Johnson in the Celtics starting lineup at the exact same price. In what has been seen as a down year for Favors, he’s still averaging almost two more rebounds per 100 possessions than Tyler Zeller, the Celtics leader in that category. He’d also come in and be the team’s best defensive big man right away and despite averaging seven less points per 100 possessions so far this season compared to a year ago, he’s still out performing Johnson in that category by over four points and Zeller by just a tick under three.

Boston would probably wind up parting ways with Johnson in this deal because it allows the money to line up almost perfectly while also giving Utah an expiring contract that keeps their depth in the front court strong. The Jazz would also receive a nice package of picks – although Boston wouldn’t have to dig into the Brooklyn picks for this one – while also possibly getting their pick of a young player on the back of the team’s roster like Demetrius Jackson, Jordan Mickey or James Young.

This might not be a trade that overwhelming makes the Celtics better, but it’s hard to deny that Favors would still be an upgrade and as he gets further away from the injuries that plagued him early on, it’s possible his down year starts to turn back into what we saw a season ago. It makes the team younger and gives them a cost effective option for next year as other teams across the league look to shell out over $25 million for a 32-year old Paul Millsap, something that fans in Boston probably wouldn’t be too thrilled about.

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