The New Orleans Pelicans need to replace Derrick Favors on the cheap.
Derrick Favors was the New Orleans Pelicans primary center for 2019-20, but is unlikely to return unless he takes a huge paycut.
Someone may be willing to give Favors much more than the Pelicans, so they should try to replace his production with a center who isn’t taking up $17 million of cap space.
Let’s face it, that won’t be too hard, as Favors’ production was not close to his contract in terms of value.
Favors averaged 9 points, 9.8 rebounds and was worth 4.2 Win Shares total with 1.6 of them being for defense.
He was the anchor of the Pelicans’ defense at times, but looked washed down the stretch, and even at his best was really only good at defending the post and not much else.
Though Favors is still listed as a power forward, he played most of his minutes at center, illustrating how the importance of the position has diminished. Teams are playing smaller, faster and most don’t need much scoring from their bigs.
Centers who can’t stretch the floor had better be able to run it, defend the rim or block shots, or they won’t have much place in the modern NBA.
With no real game-changing free agents at the position, the Pelicans may choose to use a center by committee approach, or just find someone cheap who can fill the position and more or less replace Favors’ numbers so they can invest elsewhere.
The Pelicans won’t have a lot to spend after extending Brandon Ingram, and they have other needs as well, such as a defensive wing and possibly a backup point guard.
Jaxson Hayes may be the center of the future anyway, so the Pels would be foolish to invest too much in the position.
Here are four free agent centers who should be cheap and could act as a bridge to the future.