Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Gordon Hayward, who averaged 14.1 points and 3.1 rebounds last year with the Utah Jazz, is coming off the best season of his career. Hayward may not be on the trading block just yet, but if the Jazz decide he’s not worthy of the contract extension he’ll eventually demand, they might start shopping him.
It generally wouldn’t make sense for a team to just let a player like Hayward walk, but the Jazz have just $7 million (yes, you read that right) on the books next year. It’s impossible to predict which direction the team might go in coming years. If the Jazz go into rebuilding mode, it doesn’t make much sense for them to retain Hayward.
Hayward is a capable defender, allowing just 0.87 points per play on defense, including an impressive 0.67 in isolation situations, according to Synergy Sports. He can shoot from anywhere on the floor, giving him the potential to fill the role of a key cog the Celtics have missed since Ray Allen departed for Miami.
He’s athletic and savvy off the ball, averaging 1.68 points per play on cuts (that’s a staggering 60th in the league). Expect that number to skyrocket with Rajon Rondo feeding him the ball. The two would be equal beneficiaries in this relationship, as Rondo’s passing ability has the potential to produce a myriad of easy baskets for Hayward, while Hayward’s shooting ability combined with his intelligence would open the floor up for Rondo.
At just 23 years old, Hayward’s shown steady improvement every season, so it’s possible he’ll blossom even more in a starting role, something Utah hasn’t been willing to offer him.
The Jazz, thin at the point guard position after rookie Trey Burke, would likely ask for a deal centered around Avery Bradley and a first-round pick in return for Hayward.