Utah Jazz: Top free agents to target if Gordon Hayward leaves

Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images) /
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DENVER, CO – APRIL 09: Danilo Gallinari
DENVER, CO – APRIL 09: Danilo Gallinari /

Danilo Gallinari, Denver Nuggets

If Danilo Gallinari could find a way to stay healthy for a full season, then he would provide one of the best immediate fits to replace Gordon Hayward.

Offensively, he could handle the load and he plays a very similar style to Gordon Hayward. At 6-foot-10 and 225 pounds, he is a larger wing who can score in a variety of ways, rebounds the ball and is a terrific passer.

Comparing their numbers side by side, they were extremely similar in their production last season. Hayward finished the season averaging 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists per game and shot 39.8 percent from three. Gallinari averaged 18.2 points (on four less shot attempts), 5.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists per game and shot 38.9 percent from three.

He is not quite at the level of Hayward, but he would be one of the best players available to step in and immediately fill the offensive role that Hayward would be leaving.

The drop off is going to come on the defensive end of the court.

Over the course of his career, Gallinari has never finished with a positive Defensive Plus/Minus. His average is a minus-1.2 through nine seasons. The hope would be that the defensive culture of the Jazz would bring out the best in him, and if he does let a few players by him, we have a pretty okay player protecting the rim.

The other factor when looking at Gallinari is his injury history. He has only played in over 70 games in two seasons. Last year he played just 63 games. If the Jazz give him a large contract, it will be hard to stomach if he averages 60 games over the course of the contract.

If he can remain healthy, then he has a terrific chance of finding success in Utah.