Updates from Wednesday, July 9
Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer has the latest on Hayward:
Gordon Hayward has agreed to an offer sheet with the Charlotte Hornets, the Observer has learned.— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) July 9, 2014
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowksi has more:
Charlotte has agreed to a 4-year, $63M maximum offer sheet with Utah RFA Gordon Hayward, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 9, 2014
Utah's insisted it will match any offer sheet for Hayward, but bold move out of MIchael Jordan. Charlotte is desperate for talent infusion.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 9, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, July 8
Hornets pleased with meeting with Gordon Hayward today, but Jazz maintain stance that they plan to match any offer sheet for him.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 8, 2014
Updates from Monday, July 7
ESPN's Marc Stein reports Gordon Hayward is receiving interest from a team in the Eastern Conference:
Hornets are also meeting today with Jazz RFA Gordon Hayward in Charlotte amid all this fun. Michael Jordan's Charlotte HORNETS— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 7, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, July 2
USA Today's Sam Amick reports more on Cleveland's pursuit of Gordon Hayward:
The Cleveland Cavaliers will not be giving restricted free agent small forward Gordon Hayward an offer sheet Wednesday after his visit with the team, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
Despite indications that Hayward would refer an offer sheet as a restricted free agent, the person said the visit was an opportunity to get acquainted. The possibility of a later offer remains. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation.
Updates from earlier on Wednesday:
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski provides an update on Gordon Hayward's prospects:
Utah RFA Gordon Hayward is meeting with Cavaliers officials in Cleveland today, sources tell Yahoo. Offer sheet could be forthcoming.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 2, 2014
ESPN's Brian Windhorst has more:
Cavs believed to be preparing a max offer sheet for restricted free agent Gordon Hayward, sources said. Yahoo reported he is visiting today— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 2, 2014
But there might be something holding Cleveland back, according to Wojnarowski:
Cleveland's belief that Utah will match any Hayward offer sheet is strongly discouraging Cavs from extending one, league sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 3, 2014
Jody Genessy of the Deseret News reported that the Suns will likely provide the 24-year-old with an offer sheet worth the maximum allowed:
The 6-foot-8 restricted free agent is expected to receive a significant contract offer, possibly upwards to a max deal, from the Phoenix Suns this coming week, according to sources.
Boston and Charlotte are two other teams that the Jazz anticipate could throw large offers at Hayward.
The problem for Phoenix is that Hayward is a restricted free agent. Even if the Suns throw a max deal at him, the Utah Jazz have the chance to match it. According to Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune, they almost certainly would:
Sources told The Salt Lake Tribune that the Jazz will tier the available free agents, have conversations and see where there is a common interest. But at the top of the priority list is Hayward, the best all-around player on the team. While the former Butler star will have significant interest on the market, (general manager Dennis) Lindsey has said for two months that the Jazz plan to match whatever offer comes his way.
"We anticipate Gordon being a part of our franchise for a long time," Lindsey said in the moments following last week’s NBA Draft.
Lindsey also spoke about how he feels Hayward will thrive under new head coach Quin Snyder, per Genessy:
Lindsey on Hayward: "We think Coach Snyder’s system will bring out some of the skills he’s already shown, maybe even to a greater degree."— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) June 30, 2014
Many will argue that the ninth overall pick in 2010 isn't worthy of a max contract. He had a career year in 2013-14, but that only translated to 16.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game.
Basketball-Reference.com indicates his player efficiency rating (PER) was 16.2, which actually represented a slight drop from his 16.8 in 2012-13.
Chris Towers of CBSSports.com thinks that signing Hayward to a max deal—while still a bit extreme—might be a sounder decision than matching whatever price tags Klay Thompson and Lance Stephenson will carry:
Max is too much for Hayward, for sure. Think I'd rather have him for the max than Klay. Or whatever Lance gets.— Chris Towers (@CTowersCBS) June 29, 2014
Hayward is still pretty young, so there's the chance that this past season was only a taste of what is to come.
If that's the case, then giving him the max wouldn't be all that far off from what his value will be—especially when compared to what other players with his kind of numbers are making.
The Jazz have been putting together a young core of talent and added to that in the draft with Dante Exum and Rodney Hood.
Keeping Hayward around would help secure their future, so paying him a little bit more than they'd like would be worth it if it furthered the team's progress.