Gordon Hayward is undoubtedly one of the more appealing players on the open market, boasting a combination of scoring, passing and rebounding skills that few players can match. But matching is an interesting concept when it comes to the 24-year-old swingman, who last suited up for the Utah Jazz.
Because Hayward is a restricted free agent, the Jazz can match any offer sheet that he signs. As soon as the ink from his pen finishes leaving a trail on the relevant piece of paper, Utah will have three days to exercise its right of first refusal and bring him back to Salt Lake City.
Will the Jazz do so regardless of the price? So far, all indications point toward a positive answer.
"Hayward is one of the top young free agents on the market, but the widespread belief is that the Utah Jazz would match any offer that comes his way," reports USA Today's Sam Amick.
However, this is the time of year when smokescreens are plentiful. It's possible the Jazz are just bluffing, trying to prevent teams from signing Hayward to a max offer sheet because they think they'd be wasting their time and effort. If the swingman actually does draw a max deal, there's no telling what the conversations will be like in Utah's front office.
Hayward might not have control, but he still has options.