When the Jazz decided to let Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap leave last summer via free agency, the message was clear.
The team has big plans for young power forward Derrick Favors.
The situation is similar to one that evolved in 1986, after the Jazz traded All-Star Adrian Dantley to create more opportunities for an emerging Karl Malone.
Difference being A.D. was traded because he and the coach had a disagreement. Jazz blew it by choosing Layden over A.D. A.D. could play in the high post. He could pass. He hit the offensive boards, which was never Karl's strong suit. He and Karl were close He had mentored him much like Al has Kanter. They could have definitely played successfully together.
Karl had a big rookie year as a starter on a playoff team too. It was easy to envision building around him. Favors and Kanted still with a lot to prove.
Going into his second year, Malone made the most of coach Frank Laydenís trust. He became the Jazzís go-to post player for nearly two decades and ended up in the Hall of Fame.
On Tuesday, when the Jazz opened training camp, Malone attended and spent time working with Favors and Utahís other big men.
Malone, who also worked with Favors during the offseason, has mentioned the task heís been given.
"Derrick and I, weíve had some unbelievable talks," Malone said. "Iíve asked him a lot of questions, like how committed are you to the organization? Are you ready to carry this organization?
"... I want Derrick to know the responsibility he has ó the pressure he has. I donít care if heís 22. He has to know the responsibility thatís been heaped on his shoulders. Itís what Frank did with me."
Malone added: "Thereís no Jefferson here any more. Thereís no Millsap. So guess what? Itís your turn now. You are on the clock."
During his career, Malone was known for his tremendous work ethic.
So far, he likes what heís seen in Favors.
"He has a great attitude," Malone said. "He understands working hard every day. Heís not looking at the clock. Everything you ask him to do, he does. Heís been there every day ó ready to work ó and itís been awesome for me. Iíve had a blast."
What did Favors take from his offseason sessions with Malone?
"I learned a lot," he said. "Mostly it was mental stuff. He was telling me how to take care of my body, how to come to camp in shape. Those things."
"The franchise means a lot to him," Favors said. "... He was telling me the fans will respect you if you play hard and come out every night and give it all you got."