SALT LAKE CITY — Derrick Favors didn’t want to leave the Utah Jazz.
And the Jazz didn’t want to part ways with the tenured power forward.
But there’s a business in sports, and the high-priced 6-foot-10 Georgia Tech product wasn’t expendable from it, as Utah went out and acquired players to build around a core of Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and new point guard Mike Conley (that also included stretch-four forward Bojan Bogdanovic, who will wear No. 44, as announced Sunday).
And so the Jazz front office did what they had to do, officially receiving two second-round draft picks from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Favors.
"Derrick has represented the Utah Jazz organization and the Miller family with class, hard work and exceptional talent for nearly 10 years," Jazz owner Gail Miller said in a statement. "He has been a true professional and will be remembered for his immeasurable contributions to our team and the community."
Favors played 576 games with the Jazz, including 413 starts, across nine seasons after coming to Utah in the trade that sent point guard Deron Williams to Nets. The 27-year-old forward is still arguably in the prime of his career, and ranks fourth all-time in Jazz history with 4,250 rebounds, seventh with 772 blocked shots, and 10th in games played.
But his playing time decreased as Rudy Gobert took over the center spot, and though Favors can play with the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, it wasn’t always a perfect fit.
So on Sunday, the Jazz made it official — with heavy hearts.
"Derrick's legacy will forever be a part of the Jazz organization," said Greg Miller, a member of the NBA Board of Governors. "We know we will face a tough competitor when we see him again on the court. We thank Derrick for his commitment to our team and wish him and his family the best in New Orleans."
The Pelicans, for their part, recognized immediately what they were getting, too.
"As a selfless, 27-year-old elite rim protector, with what we believe is untapped offensive potential, he is just entering his prime," Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said of Favors. "We believe he will be a vital piece of our nucleus moving forward."
Favors responded with his own well wishes, thanking the state and people of Utah before adding on Twitter: "Utah will always be a second home for me."
The declaration comes a day after the Jazz officially welcomed Conley to Utah with a video him touring Salt Lake City, posing for photos with fans, and declaring his love of the landscape.
It also came after Utah Jazz players and staff members sent their best wishes to Grayson Allen, Kyle Korver and Jae Crowder, who were dealt to Memphis in exchange for Conley.
"Jae, Kyle and Grayson, I have the utmost respect for you guys,” Jazz forward Royce O’Neale said in a video released on Twitter. "You know, after the whole year bonding on and off the court, I wish the guys the best of luck and you know I’m always here if you all need me."
Added Mitchell: "You know, it’s always tough when you’ve got guys you’re close to in Grayson, Kyle and Jae leaving. I wish them all the best. I’ve talked to all of them and I really do wish them the best."