The Charlotte Hornets and restricted free agent Gordon Hayward have agreed to a four-year offer sheet at the projected maximum of $63 million that Hayward is expected to sign Thursday at 12:01 a.m., according to sources close to the process.
The Utah Jazz have three days to match the offer from the Hornets which they have said they plan to do with any offer that comes his way, putting the ball squarely in their court.
Hayward made visits to Cleveland and Charlotte once free agency began last Tuesday, but the Hornets went on the offensive this week to secure a commitment from the 6' 8" small forward, who previously played alongside star Charlotte center Al Jefferson in Utah.
The Cavaliers were strongly considering offering Hayward the max, sources said, but with the possibility of signing Lebron James still looming they could not fully commit to the idea. The Jazz had a chance to secure a long-term deal with Hayward last season but could not agree on terms in late October.
Hayward reportedly was looking for a four-year contract valued at $13 million annually while Utah reportedly stood firm at $12 million per year. That gamble appears to have paid off for the four-year swingman from Butler, who now stands to rake in at least three million more per season from either the Hornets or Jazz.
This is a move that would upgrade a Charlotte roster that got very little, if any outside shooting from the small forward position a year ago, creating even more space for the third team all-pro Jefferson to operate on the low block.