July 26, 2017

Why the Utah Jazz May Now Be Favorites in Gordon Hayward Sweepstakes

05 July 2017, 12:27 | Simon Arnold

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Reports came out on Tuesday afternoon that Gordon Hayward had made his long-awaited free agency decision and would be heading to Boston.

Hayward was first spotted in the Bay State on Saturday night, when Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was seen picking him up from Logan International Airport. According to Jones, this may also play a role in re-signing Hayward.

At best, Hayward immediately vaults the Celtics into the Eastern Conference's top tier, true competitors with the aging Cavaliers.

Which way might the 27-year-old forward be leaning? If Hayward would have re-signed with the Jazz, he would have been eligible for a 5-year, $172.4 million. Last summer, Al Horford made a decision to sign with the Celtics.

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There had been analysts speculating that Boston might try to add both free agents Paul George and Hayward to their roster this summer.

It could play in the Jazz's favor that Hayward's favorite player growing up, Reggie Miller, planted his roots in IN soil for the duration of his 18-year career, too. Wherever Hayward chose, he was going to end up in a nice situation. In today's National Basketball Association, it's nice to have a flock of long, versatile players - especially when one of them's an All-Star who might still have another level to reach. They can unilaterally renounce all their free agents, including pulling restricted free agent Kelly Olynyk's qualifying offer, and waive unguaranteed Jordan Mickey.

After meetings with the Miami Heat, Celtics and the Utah Jazz, Hayward took his time to consider all options.

The Celtics will need to make some concessions to clear enough cap space for Hayward's contract.

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