Gordon Hayward is set to meet with the Miami Heat on Saturday and the Utah Jazz on Monday to discuss his free agency, meaning that his final decision will likely be made known with little delay.
The long, agonizing, free agency of Gordon Hayward may be set to come to a conclusion sooner rather than later. For months now, Hayward has been the talk of the NBA as he figures to be one of the most valuable free agents on the market this summer and although many consider his current Utah Jazz team as the front runner to re-sign him, the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat have undoubtedly emerged as legitimate threats to steal him away.
Of course, fans have been on pins and needles as rumor after rumor has surfaced in several attempts to predict what the Jazz All-Star’s final decision will be. And with the NBA free agency period set to start on Saturday, July 1, it would appear that Hayward won’t waste any time reaching his decision.
It was announced earlier in the week that Hayward was planning to meet with the Miami Heat on Saturday, the first day of free agency. Although to many fans, the Heat would seem like the least appealing of Hayward’s main three options (at least in terms of current roster talent), there’s still plenty of positives going for Miami.
Not only is Miami a desirable place to live, but the organization boasts an extremely talented coach in Erik Spoelstra, a team that finished as one of the hottest in the league last year despite falling just short of the playoffs and several nice young pieces that could turn into a solid squad in the not-so-distant future. More than anything, though, they have Pat Riley, whose skills as an executive are legendary and his powers of persuasion may very well be Miami’s biggest selling point.
With that being the case, if he’s able to convince Hayward that further help will be on its way in the form of additional free agent or trade acquisitions, then add up all the other pros that I mentioned and Miami could make a quick argument for being a solid choice for the Jazz All-Star.
However, all of that would take quite the perfect storm to strip Gordon away from the team where he has had so much success, so in my mind his decision will very likely come down to Utah and Boston. And although it has yet to be reported when Hayward’s free agency meeting with the Celtics will be (though it’s certainly going to take place) Jazz fans ought to be interested to learn that Hayward has indeed scheduled his free agency meeting with the incumbent Utah Jazz.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune’s Tony Jones, Hayward is set to meet with the Jazz to discuss free agency on Monday, July 3rd, two days into the free agency period.
Assuming Hayward opts to avoid the back and forth flights and swings up to meet with the Boston Celtics in between his meeting with Miami and Utah, it would appear that there is a relatively good chance that his meeting with the Jazz could be his final one of the free agency period. Again, that’s only an assumption at this point, but it’s one that could very well play into the Jazz’s favor.
Not only would Dennis Lindsey and Co. be able to get the last word in, but they would be able to get a great feel for where he’s at without worrying that he could go to a persuasive meeting elsewhere and have his mind changed.
The good news for anxious Jazz fans is that Tony Jones also indicated that according to league sources, Hayward is planning to take his meetings then “make a decision in short order.” In other words, whether it ends up being a decision that causes rejoicing or disappointment among Jazz fans, at least it appears that the situation will be resolved relatively early into the free agency period.
Amidst all the rumors that Hayward could very well be on his way out, a handful of reassuring things have surfaced lately such as Gordon reportedly expressing that he hopes the Jazz re-sign George Hill as well as his wife posting an adorable picture of letters written by middle-schoolers hoping to persuade Hayward to stay.
If I had to make a prediction at this point, it would be that Gordon Hayward is going to stay with the Jazz, but of course a lot could happen between now and his meeting with the Jazz on Monday that could change his (and my) mind.
The Heat and Celtics are bound to have plenty of ammo to throw at Hayward, but the Jazz’s armory is far from empty. He’ll have several options to weigh and measure, but it appears that Hayward won’t delay in making his decision, which means all the torturous anticipation isn’t too far removed from coming to an end.