After meeting with all three of his primary free agency options, Utah Jazz All-Star Gordon Hayward will reportedly make his final decision tomorrow (Tuesday).
Well, for the second time in a row, the 4th of July will come with a heart-wrenching blow for several NBA fans and the cause for serious rejoice among a select fan base. Last year on Independence Day, Kevin Durant shocked the league by announcing his intention to join forces with the then defending Western Conference Champion Golden State Warriors and this year another free agent will make a similar announcement of his own.
Perhaps this offseason’s announcement won’t be quite as earth-shattering for the league as a whole, but it most certainly will be for Utah Jazz fans as it was reported today by USA Today’s Sam Amick, among others, that Gordon Hayward will make his free agency decision tomorrow (Tuesday, July 4th), choosing between the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz.
In other words, one fan base – either that of Utah, Miami or Boston – will be celebrating tomorrow whereas the other two will be distraught. However, if Hayward does leave Utah, there’s no doubting that Jazz fans will be more upset by the news than Heat or Celtics fans will be if he stays. Having a player leave your team is much more devastating than simply missing out on a newcomer in free agency.
So far, there has been no concrete indication that Hayward is leaning any certain direction. In fact, according to another report from Sam Amick, Hayward has decided to sleep on his decision for one more day for the very reason that he is absolutely torn. However, Amick’s tweet below on the situation is worded somewhat ominously.
The tweet paints the picture that Utah’s presentation is the reason that he’s so torn, in other words, perhaps he was leaning a certain way, but Jazz brass and his teammates put in a significant effort to convince him to instead stay put that went a long way in potentially swaying him. However, that also infers that prior to the meeting, there’s a chance that Hayward’s preference was elsewhere…and that’s scary to say the least.
For what it’s worth (though as I’ve mentioned recently, this always seems to be the case), the Jazz meeting with Hayward was reportedly excellent. And given the fact that it lasted three and a half hours, I would certainly hope that such would be the case.
There are plenty of reasons for Hayward to stay in Utah, despite the also obvious allures of teams such as Boston or Miami. Quite frankly, Amick’s tweet does make me a little nervous if it is indeed the truth that Hayward was seriously leaning towards a team besides Utah prior to the meeting with the Jazz.
For example, let’s say that the report signifies that Hayward was feeling about 70-30 about leaving the Jazz, then the meeting that has him “torn” equates to him now feeling around 50-50. Those are still pretty frightening odds.
As easy as it would be to get lost in speculating, predicting and frankly overthinking, the simple fact of the matter is that all guesswork will come to an end tomorrow once Gordon Hayward makes his final decision.
All I can say is, hopefully he makes the decision early in the day, otherwise I’m not sure if I’ll be able to handle a day’s worth of anxiety. If that’s the case for me, with so much at stake for his career, I can hardly imagine what he’s going through tonight.
At the end of the day, though, I’m glad to know that the Utah Jazz team and organization have done absolutely everything in their power to give Hayward the most favorable situation to play in and persuade him to stay. Now the final decision – along with the immediate future of the Utah Jazz franchise – rest firmly upon his shoulders.
Let’s hope his decision is a good one. Until tomorrow everybody…