Utah Jazz: Which free agents should they bring back?

Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images
Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images /
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Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images /

Ekpe Udoh

Similar to Sefolosha, Ekpe Udoh is bit of a journeyman and will be an unrestricted free agent. The Jazz are also his fourth team and next season will also be his third with Utah. Udoh was originally brought in to be nothing more than depth at the 5 and that’s exactly what role he’s played, averaging 12.9 and 6.3 minutes per game over the past two seasons, respectively.

A bit younger than Sefolosha, Udoh will be 31 when the 2019-20 NBA season kicks off and has shown flashes of being a solid rim-runner and shot deterrer, with his best seasons coming during his stint in Milwaukee. The difference between Udoh and Sefolosha is that he has visibly been a solid locker room presence for this young Jazz team, starting Ekpe’s Book Club.

Ekpe’s Book Club is just what it sounds like — a book club that Udoh heads. The members primarily consist of his teammates and a few members of the local community, but that didn’t stop the group getting attention from the former FLOTUS:

Udoh may not be the most gifted center in the league, but sometimes you simply just pay for leadership.

Verdict: Keep 

Derrick Favors

It feels weird to have to include the current longest-tenured Jazz player on this list, but when you’re a small market team and have a non-stretch big set to make $16.9 million next season and can take it off the books with no penalty … well, you have to at least think about it.

Favors is everything that the Jazz are about — gritty defense, a slow pace of basketball and pounding the ball inside. Unfortunately for Favors and the Jazz, Favors has yet to adapt to today’s NBA — but not for lack of trying.

Favors has worked on creating a more consist 3-point shot to spread out the Jazz’s offense and let Rudy Gobert terrorize the paint. The results have not been pretty.

Favors’ 3-point percentage has continued to dip from his somewhat promising 30.0 percent mark in the 2016-17 season all the way to 21.2 percent this past season. It’s not looking like that 3-point shot is coming, making Favors one-dimensional on offense and bordering on it defensively.

On the other hand, no other player that the Jazz could bring in via free agency, trade or the draft this offseason could boast the same amount of experience and familiarity with the Jazz organization. Then again, many others could help modernize and raise the ceiling for the team.

Favors plays his role well as the starting power forward and as the de facto backup center, making it a tough pill to swallow if they decide to cut bait. At the same time, three will always be worth more than two, and linked targets like Kemba Walker and Tobias Harris will need to be paid.

Verdict: Let go, but try to bring back on a team-friendly deal