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Potential Suitors: Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers.
Offer Sheet Range: $12 million to $15.5 million (max based on projected $62.1 million salary cap)
Gordon Hayward is going to get paid this offseason.
The 23-year-old swingman is already putting up a gaudy line of 19.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists so far, and he'll have no threat to his production going forward.
Because he's a solid distributor in addition to being a very capable outside shooter, opposing general managers won't have a hard time talking themselves into Hayward as a great fit offensively.
Is Hayward worth a max contract, though? Probably not. He doesn't make an impact on the defensive side of the ball, which is something max players should do.
Still, it's very easy to envision a scenario where Hayward agrees to a max offer sheet or something very close to it, primarily because there is a lack of young wing scorers in the league and Hayward has all the tools to become a complete player on that end of the floor.
Hayward is close enough to being a max player that overpaying a few million a year shouldn't be a roadblock for teams in search of a young wing. Besides, if Hayward and his agent Mark Bartelstein didn't see this scenario happening, an extension likely would have already been negotiated.
This is essentially a poker game all the way around. A fellow Western Conference competitor like the Dallas Mavericks or Phoenix Suns might push a lot of chips to the center just to try and scare Utah away from calling.
The worst-case scenario for an offering team is that they would tie their money up for three days just for Utah to match anyways. Even if that happens, making a conference foe pay top dollar to retain their talent is a smart move.