For Derrick Favors, 'everything just feels right' about his Utah Jazz homecoming

by Aaron Falk

His phone started blowing up as soon as the news broke.

Texts from Mike Conley and Rudy Gobert.

A Facetime call from Donovan Mitchell and Royce O’Neale.

A message from an old partner in crime.

“Pocket pass,” Joe Ingles wrote. “We back!”

And just like that, after a season away from the franchise where he spent a decade blossoming into one of the best big men in the game, Derrick Favors knew he’d made the right decision—the decision to come back home.

“Everything just feels right,” Favors said Wednesday after officially signing a new multi-year deal to return to the Utah Jazz. “I’m happy about it.”

Favors said he took multiple calls when free agency opened last week and had interest from other teams. But after a conversation with the Jazz, Favors knew where he wanted to be this year.

“I love the system there, the organization, the city,” Favors said. “It’s just familiar there. It feels like home. Coming back, Utah just felt like home.”

Favors played more than 600 regular season and playoff games in a Jazz uniform during his first nine seasons in the league. He started 485 regular season games for the team, averaging 12.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.

But with the Jazz looking to add offensive firepower last year in the form of Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic, Favors knew he would likely be moved. He targeted New Orleans, a young and upcoming team, as a destination. After one season, in which averaged 9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game for the Pelicans, Favors jumped at the chance to reunite with his old squad.

“I definitely saw that if I went back I could help that team out,” he said. “We can definitely do something special.”

Favors had been a regular starter for the Jazz over the years but said he anticipates a different role in his return.

“I’ll probably come off the bench,” he said. “I won’t play 30 minutes. Probably 20-25.”

Favors appreciated the support he received from Jazz fans and his old teammates during his season in New Orleans. And he was thrilled by the prospect of once again playing for Jazz head coach Quin Snyder.

“Coach Quin is like my favorite coach in the world right now,” Favors said. “… I just love Quin. He’s a smart guy, a smart coach. He puts everyone in a position to succeed. I’m just a believer in his coach style, the way he runs his offense, his defense. The leadership he has. He’s a players’ coach. He communicates with you. I just love him. He was one of the main reasons I decided to come back.”

Favors was also intrigued by playing at Vivint Arena in front of thousands of adoring fans.

“The Jazz have got one of the most loyal fanbases,” he said. “I’ve seen them throughout the years. I’m pretty sure they’re excited [I’m back]. The team’s excited. I know the whole city is excited.”

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