With free agency and the potential departure of Gordon Hayward just on the horizon, the Utah Jazz will look to remain in the playoffs by focusing on a few primary wings in free agency.
After reaching the playoffs for the first time in five years, and advancing to the second round for the first time in seven years, Utah Jazz fans should have reason to celebrate and look forward to the future. Instead, this offseason has been clouded with uncertainty and doubt.
With the potential departure of All-Star Gordon Hayward, it’s hard not to fall into that trap. Personally, I am an optimist. I have high hopes that Hayward will return to the Jazz because he cares about the organization, and the Jazz give him as good of a chance to win as any.
He will take meetings with Miami on Saturday and Boston on Sunday, which he should do, but he will also be meeting with Utah on Monday according to Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune. The Jazz will have as good a chance as any to retain him.
In the event that he does leave to supposed greener pastures (pun intended), all is not lost.
Some think the Jazz will go into full on rebuild mode if Hayward and point guard George Hill are to depart, but with the pieces that would remain in place that does not seem necessary. I expect they will look to fill the void through free agency and make a run to stay in the playoffs nevertheless.
Let’s look at a few players who can take over the small forward position, and help to keep the Jazz competitive this next season.