It sounds like if the Nets' front office is going to trade Derrick Favors, they''re going to have to do a lot of 'splaining to Avery Johnson.
The Nets coach had his preseason lunch with beat reporters and there was a LOT of praise for Favors. As Stefan Bondy tweeted, "Lots of praising of Favors, who Avery compared to Duncan and Garnett. Avery would have chosen him over Turner - 'no brainer'." He's also told Favors to ignore the trade rumors and rely on him. Johnson said he told Favors, "If I say you're going to be with the Nets, you're going to be here. If you don't hear me say anything, it's not accurate"... That's our agreement." Johnson hinted again that the Nets may start Favors over Troy Murphy.
Johnson talked as well about his former student, Devin Harris, intimating he will be a big part of the offense. In a bit of a surprise, Johnson was full of praise for undrafted rookie, Ben Uzoh, the 6'4" third string point guard, calling him "our diamond in the rough" and indicated he'll probably make the team. The Nets have 16 players with fully guaranteed or partially guaranteed deals. Uzoh, Brian Zoubek and Stephen Graham have partial guarantees.
Meanwhile, a reporter who wasn't at the lunch, Adrian Wojnarowski, reports that the Nets "want Anthony, but they aren’t desperate for him" and are reluctant to deal Favors.
It will be interesting to see how this kid progresses. Youngest player in the NBA, and playing alongside Lopez and Murphy with major potential. We may have found that "K-Mart" presence that we have lacked for years... but we also said that about Sean Williams. I hope this kid can live up to the hype... either way, Avery is sure as hell a better coach to have these young kids playing for.