Free agent Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz has had a busy past week visiting with several NBA teams--without getting a deal done. On Tuesday, July 8 Hayward and his team finally broke through the malaise of NBA free agency talks.
The Charlotte Hornets reportedly agreed to terms with the former Butler star. There is just one catch: Hayward is a restricted free agent, so any deal that he and another NBA team agree to is subject to having the Jazz--his current employer--match it.
According to Deseret News Jazz beat writer Jody Genessy, matching the offer sheet that the Hornets are about to present to Hayward is exactly what the Jazz intend to do within the next four days.
Some media believed Hayward would actually leave Utah based on his management team's unwillingness to cooperate with the Jazz when the team presented its initial offer sheet last year.
Apparently time heals all wounds--be it man-made or fabricated--because with a new head coach in Quin Snyder on board and a draft class that bore such talented prospects like Dante Exum of Australia and Rodney Hood of Duke, it appears that Hayward will have to take what the Jazz match.
Right now, Hayward's proposed deal with Charlotte will be worth about $15 million the first year and appreciate about $700,000 every year thereafter, according to the Charlotte Observer, which first broke the story.
In total, Hayward will sign a four-year offer sheet worth $63 million with Charlotte, the most money the NBA will permit under the league's collective bargaining agreement.
Unfortunately for the Hornets, the team caught the Jazz at a bad time because Utah currently has about $8 million more it could spend this year and still not be over the salary cap--even after it signs Hayward for this ridiuclous amount of money.
In all honesty, Hayward is probably not worth $63 million in the short term. No middle-of-the-road, on-the-cusp of All-Star status player who averages about 15 points per game is.
Of course, you can prove people wrong--and that's precisely the opportunity that Hayward will have once the Jazz have matched the Hornets' offer sheet and life goes on, business as usual into the 2014-15 NBA regular season.