With a new collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the Players Association in place, the Utah Jazz may get some help in keeping Gordon Hayward.
Earlier this week, the new collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and its players was ratified by the league’s Board of Governors and the NBPA. The ratification was announced on Friday, marking the first time in two decades that NBA owners and players completely avoided a lockout.
Although not all of them led to work stoppages, lockouts preciously occurred in 1995, 1996, 1998, 2005 and 2011.
The deal will keep the league up and running without fear of a work stoppage for at least the next six years through the 2022-23 season. Both sides have an opt-out option before the seventh and final year of the agreement.
Specific details of the deal will become available once the complete agreement is drafted, but several key provisions have been revealed. More on that later.
The bottom line — this great news all around for basketball fans. But what does it mean for the Utah Jazz? More specifically, does it affect the upcoming negotiations between the team and soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Gordon Hayward?
The answer is yes; language in the new deal may even help the Jazz keep Hayward long-term. Per statements from Hayward, the team’s ability to win a championship still trumps everything. Nevertheless, the Jazz will ultimately be able to pay him much more than other teams.
The clause that counts here is the designated veteran player exception, which gives teams a better ability to retain their star players in deals worth tens of millions more than they could get on the open market. However, there are a few caveats blocking the way for the Jazz to use that DPE this offseason.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst breaks it down in his recent FAQ on reported provisions of the new CBA (because, again, the final agreement is being drafted) —
“To get this type of premium deal you have to have played eight or nine years in the league and been on the All-NBA team this year or in two of the past three years, win the Defensive Player of the Year or have won the MVP in one of the past three years. You also have to re-sign with the team you played for since your rookie contract, although players traded during their rookie contracts still qualify. That’s not a lot of players.”
The key language here is the “eight or nine years.” While Hayward could be on his way to All-NBA accolades, which is one of the prerequisites, he will have only completed seven years of service in the league after the 2016-17 season.
That said, if Hayward agrees to a one-plus-one deal this summer (think LeBron James’ deal when he returned to Cleveland), he could get one of these “super max” deals after opting out following next season.
Even if the DPE doesn’t come into play for Hayward, the Jazz will still have the ability to offer him more years with higher percentage annual raises on a potential deal.
Money isn’t everything for Hayward, but it certainly helps Utah’s chances.
Of course, winning is still the thing for G-Time. The Jazz star reaffirmed as much when talking to ESPN recently. “It comes down to where I can compete for a title,” he said. “Where I live — that doesn’t affect me. The limelight doesn’t matter to me. I just want to make a run at it.”
When healthy, there’s no question the Jazz have the kind of roster that can win big in the league. Now they just need to get there. Fans should keep an eye George Hill’s situation here; if he can’t get back on the court or isn’t willing to re-up with the team, we could have problems.
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Utah may have more financial leeway in keeping Hayward in-house, but money alone won’t keep him in Salt Lake City.
Still, there’s a lot of reason to be hopeful about Hayward staying and the Jazz have some things working in their favor. They just have some work (or mending) to do to make sure it happens.