OKC Thunder Veteran Derrick Favors Exercises $10.2 Million Player Option
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Now that the offseason has kicked off for the Oklahoma City Thunder, dominos are starting to fall.

During the 2021-22 season, veteran big Derrick Favors was Oklahoma City’s highest paid player. With that in mind, he had a big decision to make during the offseason.

Favors had until Tuesday afternoon to make a decision on his $10.2 million player option for the 2022-23 season. As first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic, Favors has decided to opt in to this final year of his current contract.

This was expected, especially after the comments Favors made at the close of the regular season.

“I expect to be back here next year. I’ll probably pick it up,” said Favors on his option last month.

At this stage of his career, Favors wouldn’t have made more than that on the open market. While he could have opted out and tested unrestricted free agency, the 30-year-old made the decision to take the money while he can.

Last season with the Thunder, Favors averaged 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in just 16.7 minutes per contest. A leader and mentor for the young forwards on the roster, he was a key piece of the team off the court. Favors did experience back issues for a good portion of the season, playing in just 39 games (18 starts) during the 2021-22 campaign.

This was his first season in Oklahoma City after being acquired from the Utah Jazz last summer. Utah needed to get his $19.9 million over two seasons off of the books. With all of the cap space the Thunder had, they got paid in draft capital to take on his money.

Favors enjoyed his first season in OKC, speaking highly of the situation last month. Being a veteran on a rebuilding team was a great experience.

“It just brought back the joy, the fun. When you’re around these young guys, it brought back the fun and enjoyment of playing basketball and not worrying about the business part,” said Favors.

As we get closer to the 2022-23 season, it’ll be interesting to monitor Favors’ situation. Although he’s opted in, he can still be traded away or even bought out.

Thunder GM Sam Presti is known for working with veterans late in their career and ensuring they’re taken care of. If there’s a mutual interest in Favors being bought out or traded, those scenarios will certainly be taken seriously by the Thunder front office.

While Favors isn’t an elite big, he has proven to be effective in limited action. On a contending team, he could be an interesting piece towards the end of the rotation.

For now, he’s locked into the Oklahoma City payroll on an expiring contract for the upcoming season. With the way the roster is currently constructed he will be the second-highest paid active player behind Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who will be in the first season of his max extension.

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