As the world seems to revolve around Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward at this moment and what his next move in NBA free agency will be, there is one thing to keep in mind: he still doesn’t have one offer from an NBA team.
The Cleveland Cavaliers brought the former Butler star in for a visit last week--but didn’t offer him a red cent. On Monday, July 7 the Charlotte Hornets are reportedly next in line to talk to Hayward--and then the Dallas Mavericks may pay him a visit--or vise versa later this week.
The Cavaliers are probably waiting to see what happens with the whole LeBron thing--which seems to be reason enough why this process is taking so long. Yahoo! Sports reported that the Cavs still may throw a max deal at Hayward’s feet--if and only if LeBron doesn’t take that money and then some and run to his bank to cash the check. (Besides, the Cavs just drafted Andrew Wiggins No. 1 and since Wiggins and Hayward play the same position--it’s a no-brainer there might be a logjam at that spot. )
The Hornets desperately need a small forward--but the franchise itself doesn’t have the greatest track record under his Airness--or Michael Jordan--of going out and signing top players. Just because you’re the greatest basketball player of all time doesn’t mean you can recruit talent. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite. If Al Jefferson is the nexus at which you attract top players, you probably need to find another billionaire.
The Mavericks are a bit more concerning because of Mark Cuban and his wily ways--but Cubes just threw a pile of money at Dirk Nowitski. The chances that Dallas will actually propose a number that Hayward and his management team like will probably fall between not enough and Shark Tank's trademark phrase, "I'm out."
Of course, there are other potential suitors like the Los Angeles Lakers, the Phoenix Suns with ex-Jazz assistant Jeff Hornacek and even the cash-strapped but willing Boston Celtics with Hayward‘s former coach Brad Stevens and ex-BYU star Danny Ainge--but the Jazz have the final say on any deal because Hayward happens to be a restricted free agent. And all of those deals would appear to hinge on either LeBron, Carmelo Anthony or Pau Gasol signing with their respective teams.
So unless Utah has designs on a sign-and-trade deal with Hayward as the focal point--and Jazz brass is known for playing their cards close to their chests--the likelihood that Hayward is going to leave Utah this year is also a number between slim and none.
As for the Jazz, well, they’re just biding their time to see what transpires. Fans desperately want to know what will happen next. Will the Jazz pull a Greg Ostertag and offer Hayward a max deal he doesn’t necessarily deserve for his less-than All-Star numbers--or will the Jazz organization show it got its feelings hurt by Hayward’s reluctance to sign the Jazz first offer sheet last year and send him packing? We should all know more within the next few days.