Veteran Center Exercises Player Option To Stay With Thunder


Oklahoma City Thunder center Derrick Favors will be with the team for another season.

The veteran big man reportedly opted into his player option for the upcoming 2022-23 season, which will pay Favors $10.2 million in the final year of his current contract.


Favors had until June 29 to make the decision, and it appears that it was an easy one for him to make, as he opted in over a month in advance.

With Favors exercising his player option, this would make him the second highest paid player on the Thunder roster, only behind guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander whose maximum rookie contract extension kicks in next season.

Even though Favors is a former third overall draft pick, it is difficult to really justify the Thunder keeping the veteran center for another season. 

While Favors has been a solid center/power forward for the majority of his 10-year NBA career, it does appear that his prime years are behind him. 

Favors hasn't averaged double digit scoring in three straight seasons now, and last season his numbers fell off a cliff as he averaged career lows with 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

Granted, last season was an injury-plagued season for Favors, as he was dealing with back issues for the majority of a season where he only played in 39 games. But, the decline in his game still has been pretty evident. 

As for the Thunder, they are the youngest team in the league, and appear to be going all-in on the youth movement and acquiring young talent through the draft lottery. 

While it could be argued that a team like that could use the veteran presence of a 30-year-old player like Favors, the team also has that covered with their other veteran big man in Mike Muscala, who makes much less than Favors but arguably offers better production at the reserve center spot.

Because Favors opted into his player option so early, it will provide the Thunder with a contract option to use if the team decides to engage in any trades on NBA Draft night. 

And, even if the Thunder do not end up trading Favors during the NBA Draft, it would seem likely that a playoff-caliber team might inquire about Favor's services throughout the season. And for a Thunder team that has been stockpiling draft picks and young assets, they might be enticed to ship off Favors if they are offered even more young talent to add to said stockpile.

And so, whether the Thunder decide to keep Favors and give him the opportunity to bounce back to the level of play that he is used to—as well as mentor the young players on the team—or if they decide to trade him for the right price/assets, it is clear that the Thunder have options to consider when it comes to Favors and what to do with him next season.   

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