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Gordon Hayward Rumors: Star Reportedly Told Jazz He Wanted Ricky Rubio Trade

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 28: Ricky Rubio #9 of the Minnesota Timberwolves controls the ball against Gordon Hayward #20 of the Utah Jazz during the game on November 28, 2016 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Utah Jazz may have killed two birds with one stone when they acquired Ricky Rubio from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Not only is Rubio a replacement for free-agent point guard George Hill, but also ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne reported Gordon Hayward made it clear to the Jazz he was hopeful he'd get to play with Rubio in Salt Lake City.

The Salt Lake Tribune's Tony Jones provided more perspective:

Tony Jones @tribjazz

Continuing what Ramona Shelburne said, the Jazz 100 percent made the Ricky Rubio trade with Gordon Hayward in mind

Tony Jones @tribjazz

The feeling on Rubio is Hayward and the rest of the offense has never played with a passing point guard like that

Tony Jones @tribjazz

Means Rubio will get easier looks for Hayward, Ingles, Hood, Johnson, Etc. And Rubio/Gobert PNR could be deadly

So, Rubio's arrival would seemingly increase the Jazz's chances of re-signing Hayward. 

The Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach reported Monday that Hayward was set to meet with Utah but hadn't determined when he'll make his final decision. Shelburne and her colleague Tim MacMahon later reported Rubio was part of the Jazz contingent meeting along with Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles and others.

Hayward met with the Miami Heat on Saturday and visited the Boston Celtics on Sunday, per ESPN.com's Chris Forsberg.

Gobert, Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas and Heat center Hassan Whiteside did their best to lobby Hayward through a series of emojis on Twitter:

Rudy Gobert @rudygobert27

🌴🗑☘️💩🎷🏆

Isaiah Thomas @isaiahthomas

🌴🏆🏆🏆☘️🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🎷🙅🏾‍♂️

If Utah fails to re-sign Hayward, it would be a major blow since a number of its rivals in the Western Conference have made significant upgrades.

Minnesota traded for Jimmy Butler, and ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski reported it also agreed to a deal with Jeff Teague. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder have a deal in place with the Indiana Pacers for Paul George, per Shelburne, and ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst reported Monday the Denver Nuggets agreed to a three-year contract with Paul Millsap. And the Houston Rockets traded for Chris Paul.

In what is shaping up to be a tight race for the top four seeds in the West, retaining Hayward is likely the only way the Jazz can ensure they have a chance to build on last year's fifth-place finish in the conference.

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