SALT LAKE CITY — Lebron James and the Los Angeles Lakers made big news on the first day of NBA free agency when James agreed to a 4-year, $154 million dollar deal with the Lakers. Does that make the Lakers instant contenders in the Western Conference after missing the playoffs the last five years? Yes, James is that good. He’s been to the NBA Finals the last eight years in a row, and played great this year in the playoffs.
What does this mean to the Utah Jazz? Former NBA player and NBA TV analyst Steve Smith said the Jazz could a team that moves out of the playoffs to make room for Lebron and the Lakers. Rudy Gobert responded to that on Twitter.
The Jazz had a pretty good team last year, and it looks like Dennis Lindsey and the Jazz are focused on bringing back the players who helped the Jazz finish fifth in the West Conference last season, and beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs. Derrick Favors has agreed to return to the Jazz on a reported 2-year, 36 million dollar deal. He may not be the stretch four the Jazz want, but he’s the best backup center in the NBA. He’ll probably start for the Jazz at power forward, but he’ll play most of his minutes switching in and out with Rudy Gobert at center, like they did during the great Jazz run at the end of last season.
Bringing back Favors, Sefolosha, and possibly Dante Exum means the Jazz really like the players they have and they feel they continue to get better with head coach Quin Snyder and his staff. Gobert and Donovan Mitchell are rising stars in the NBA and they don’t plan on falling out of the playoffs any time soon.