The No. 3 pick in the 2010 draft, Favors averaged 9.4 points and 7.1 rebounds, both career-highs, for the Jazz last season.
Acquired from the Nets as the centerpiece of the 2010 trade that sent Deron Williams to New Jersey, Favors was a 2011 All-Rookie Second Team performer. In three seasons with the Nets and Jazz, Favors holds career averages of 8.3 points and 6.3 rebounds.
This summer, Utah allowed free-agent big men Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap to depart to the Bobcats and Hawks, respectively, to clear minutes for Favors and 2011 lottery pick Enes Kanter as the team undertakes a rebuilding effort.
Favors, 22, is on the books for $6 million in 2013-14, the final year of his rookie contract. A four-year extension would kick in for the 2014-15 season and carry him through the 2017-18 season.
The terms of the contract represent a bet on Favors' upside, as he's yet to average at least 24 minutes per game over the course of a season, but it looks like a smart, calculated bet by Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey. Favors has the size, strength and talent combination to become a franchise building block, and the terms of his deal are more than 20 percent below the cost of a four-year, max offer.
Over the last two seasons, Favors has averaged roughly 15 points and 11 rebounds per 36 minutes and posted a Player Efficiency Rating of 17. If he continues to produce at those rates in a bigger role this year, there's a very good chance someone would have been waiting with a max offer in restricted free agency next summer. Pacers center Roy Hibbert commanded a four-year max offer in 2012 after averaging 12.8 points and 8.8 rebounds; Nets center Brook Lopez also received a four-year max offer in 2012 even though he played just five games during the 2011-12 season due to injuries.
By agreeing to the deal early, Favors can play through this season without worrying about an injury compromising his earning power, and he can pocket a contract that compares to deals signed in recent years by Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (four years, $49 million), Hawks center Al Horford (five years, $60 million), Bulls center Joakim Noah (five years, $60 million) and Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge (five years, $65 million). That's really good company, even if Favors might have theoretically sacrificed more than $10 million over the course of the deal by compromising now.
Once the deal is complete, Favors will join Wizards guard John Wall (five years, $80 million), Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (four years, $62 million), Pacers forward Paul George (five years, $90 million) and Bucks center Larry Sanders (four years, $44 million) among 2010 picks to agree to terms on rookie extensions so far this offseason.
The two sides faced an Oct. 31 deadline to complete a deal, otherwise Favors would have proceeded towards restricted free agency next summer.Gordon Hayward