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Derrick Favors reacts to Utah Jazz trade rumors involving Jabari Parker: ‘I have fun with it’

Derrick Favors talks with journalists after Jazz shootaround, Monday, Dec. 17, 2018.
Derrick Favors talks with journalists after Jazz shootaround, Monday, Dec. 17, 2018.
Eric Woodyard, Deseret News

HOUSTON — Derrick Favors enjoyed a good laugh on Monday morning with the Utah Jazz’s coaching staff ahead of shootaround at the Toyota Center.

The trade rumors are now becoming funny to the longest-tenured Jazzman.

So as news began to surface that the Jazz are among the teams reportedly interested in Chicago Bulls forward Jabari Parker, according to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, Favors doesn’t think too deep about it although his name is linked to a potential deal.

“I was telling one of the coaches, I could go back years and years ago and I can name each guy I was supposed to get traded for,” Favors said ahead of the Jazz-Rockets game. “Every year, I can just name them so I have fun with it, I enjoy it.

“Definitely use it as motivation. But I have fun with it most of the time because most of the time I look forward to it, like ‘Who am I going to get traded for this year? Who they want me to get traded for? Where the rumors at?’ so I enjoy it.”

The 6-foot-10, 265-pound forward is averaging 11.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in his ninth season. He put up 21 points with eight boards in Saturday’s 96-89 loss to the Orlando Magic in Mexico City. His role has changed a bit this season as he’s split time recently both starting and coming off the bench for Jae Crowder as Jazz coach Quin Snyder sometimes tweaks the starting lineups.

It hasn’t always been easy for Favors, but the 27-year-old is approaching the situation in a professional manner.

“It’s definitely tough mentally and I know a lot of guys can’t deal with it but with me, I have a lot of confidence in myself and a lot of confidence in my ability and skillset so whether I’m starting or coming off the bench it don’t really matter,” Favors said. “I know I can come out there and make an impact whether it’s on the offensive end or on the defensive end and if it’s for 10 minutes or 20, 30 minutes it don’t matter. My whole game plan is just to go out there and make an impact.”

Favors agreed to a two-year, $36 million deal with the Jazz this offseason, with the second year of the deal not guaranteed.

Parker signed a two-year, $40 million to return home to Chicago this offseason before things have started to go downhill lately, with him being removed from the rotation despite averaging 15.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

Even with the Jazz being linked to the trade chatter, Favors’ Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell admires his ability to continue to perform whether he’s coming off the bench, starting or being involved in trade rumors. It certainly hasn’t affected his effort.

“In my year and a quarter that I’ve been here, he’s been supposed to be traded and from what I’ve been told in the league, guys don’t react to that kindly,” Mitchell said. “They just take exception to that kind of stuff and stop caring but it’s not that way with Fave and I think that’s a unique talent that you need to put all that to the wayside and focus in on the game-to-day basis.

“We care about Fave, he cares about us and I think that kind of shows with the way he’s been playing, with the way he’s acted,” he continued. “It’s easy to kind of say, ‘alright, whatever I’m done,’ but he’s on it every day. He’s one of the first guys there, always putting in work, working extra, working hard, kind of letting us know what he sees and to have a guy like that, especially for a young guy like me, I’m very lucky.”