According to a recent report, Gordon Hayward wants the Utah Jazz to re-sign his teammate George Hill and that desire could mean good news for Jazz fans.
The start of NBA free agency is just a handful of days away and the anticipation and anxiety among fans regarding the future of the Utah Jazz seems to get higher with each passing moment. Of course, Gordon Hayward is the major prize that the Jazz hope they’ll be able to keep a hold of this offseason to ensure a successful future, but they also have a difficult situation in front of them in regards to how they should handle the unrestricted free agency of George Hill.
Some have suggested that he will be too costly to retain and that the Jazz should simply let him walk. Others have hinted that perhaps the Jazz would be better off pursuing a different point guard regardless of Hill’s asking price. Then, of course, there’s always the chance that the Jazz will want Hill back but he’ll opt to go elsewhere.
Most signs have indicated that the Jazz would like to bring Hill back if at all possible even though it has been reported that they are indeed pursuing a veteran point guard via trade or free agency. Those two objectives could still work hand in hand as Utah’s pursuit of a point guard could very well be a contingency plan or an attempt to add in a formidable backup.
My take on Hill is that if he fits the Jazz’s plan financially, they should definitely make him a top priority. However, I’ve also mentioned several times that if the Jazz become aware that re-signing Hill is a key to keeping Gordon Hayward as well, then they should be willing to pony up whatever cash is necessary.
Well, according to a recent report, that formerly hypothetical situation could end up indeed being the reality.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Deseret News’ Jody Genessy tweeted out that he had been told that Hayward is indeed hoping that the Jazz will re-sign George Hill.
If such is the case, then I stand by my previous assertion that the Jazz most definitely should work with George Hill to ensure that they can re-sign him. Despite injury issues this past season, Hill was an excellent addition for the Jazz that helped them improve dramatically and he’s an excellent fit on the court, in the locker room and in the community.
Furthermore, if keeping him is a key cog to convincing Hayward to stay, then the Jazz almost have to do it. While losing Hill by himself could be easily remedied this offseason, losing Gordon Hayward would be absolutely devastating to the franchise. Therefore, keeping Hill to in turn retain Hayward would be an easy decision.
Nevertheless, this revelation regarding Hill and Hayward certainly has its pros and cons. On the negative side of things, this could dramatically hurt Utah’s leverage with Hill as he may end up holding all the cards if Hayward’s decision is dependent on that of Hill’s. If Hill uses the Hayward commitment as a major selling point, then Utah could very well end up overpaying for him, which may hurt them somewhat in the long term (though still not as much as losing Hayward would).
Beyond that, if Dennis Lindsey and Co. had other plans in mind to make a splash this summer by potentially improving the roster somewhere else besides the point guard position, then this news could hinder those attempts as securing Hill would instead become a top priority.
On the other hand, if Hayward has made it known that he hopes the Jazz re-sign Hill, it certainly could mean very good news as well. First and foremost, if Hayward was leaning towards leaving the Jazz or if he’d already made his mind up that he was on his way out, I sincerely doubt that he would be all that worried about what the Jazz’s plans were with George Hill or any other player.
In other words, the fact that Hayward wants the Jazz to keep Hill seems to insinuate that he hopes to continue playing with him in a Jazz uniform. Not to mention, if Hill knows that to be the case as well, then it increases the chances of the two of them making arrangements to continue to play with one another.
Although the risk of Hill demanding more money than the Jazz would like to pay him is certainly there, it’s not necessarily a guarantee, especially if Hill and Hayward feel that by staying together and giving the Jazz freedom to add more pieces they’ll put themselves in the best position to compete in the West.
Even though Hill’s 2016-17 season was blemished with injuries and the fact that he missed Utah’s final playoff games, the honest truth is that from a talent and financial standpoint, the Jazz may have a hard time doing much better than adding Hill anyway. Therefore, if this latest rumor proves true and both of them are brought back, Jazz fans would have little, if anything, to complain about.
Free agency officially begins on Saturday and as several teams across the league, including the Utah Jazz, look to make big moves leading up to and during that period of time, it will likely become more and more evident just what the future holds for Gordon Hayward, George Hill and the Utah Jazz.