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JuMu's Juju: Pros and Cons of Hayward Max Deal

Hello everyone, and welcome to this week's edition of JuMu's Juju!

Unless you've been living under a rock the last couple days, you've heard about all the speculation of Hayward being likely to receive a max offer of 4 years and $63.4 Million from Cleveland (or, if not them, another team like Phoenix).

While the general consensus is that Hayward's "market value" is around $10-12 Million per year, there is quite a divide in Jazz fan's opinion in whether or not to let Hayward walk if he is offered a max deal. In today's post, I will be presenting the pros and cons and to try to give the readers a full picture of the scenario. Let's begin, shall we?

Pros of matching a max offer:

  • We get to keep the team's primary offensive option from last year. (16 points per game off of 13 shots)
  • We keep the team's 2nd best facilitator behind Burke on the team. (5+ assists for a non- point guard is a rare feat in the NBA: LeBron, Durant, Noah, Batum, Hayward were the 5 from last year).
  • We keep 1 of the only 5 players in the NBA from last season who averaged 15+, 5+, 5+ (LeBron, Durant, Westbrook, Carter-Williams are the other 4); He is also the only one under 25 who played for a team that didn't have a 20+ losing streak last season.
  • We maintain continuity of the team's core (which has been shown to be key in team development/chemistry in many cases throughout NBA history).
  • We keep a player who is projected to be on the upswing of his career (age 24-28 for this contract).

Cons of matching a max offer:

  • It will limit the team's future flexibility.
  • It may make negotiating thrifty extensions for Kanter and Burks much more difficult if they (or their agents) see themselves as not being players who should be paid significantly less than Hayward.
  • Hayward may not want to come back to play for Utah at all.
  • Hayward is nearly unanimously seen as not a max level player, but a 3rd option on a contending team who shouldn't make more than $12 Million per year.
  • We would be overpaying.

Pros of letting him walk:

  • We maintain the team's flexibility in keeping Burks and Kanter long term as well as making room for another good free agent.
  • We stay loyal to Favors (who seems to genuinely like playing in Utah) and keep him as our highest paid player.
  • We avoid potential drama issues being drawn to Hayward for the next 4 seasons, if he fails to live up to his max contract.
  • We still have a core of Burke, Burks, and Exum for our Guards, Favors, Kanter, Gobert for our bigs, and Hood, Evans, and a likely free agent this summer at the wings, not too shabby of a roster.
  • The team shows that they do not want to make another Kirilenko contract mistake.

Cons of letting him walk:

  • We let one of the team's top assets (and fan-favorite) walk away for nothing.
  • We essentially act as a NBA farm team of talent in this scenario. (do all the developing without reaping the long-term benefits).
  • In a year from now, in hindsight, we potentially see that we actually had room to sign Burks and Kanter for their extensions while keeping Hayward at the same time (similar to the Thunder's Harden scenario).
  • Hayward has a chance of living up to the max contract value due to expected increase in production for a player after his 1st season as a primary offensive option.
  • The flexibility that we get from letting him walk away doesn't lead to anything near replacing the level of production that he brings us (See: Carlos Boozer is the top free agent the Jazz have signed in the last 20 years).

Conclusion

Thanks for reading, I tried to not let my bias show in this article, but it probably still shows anyway.
This topic is going to be the controversial one for the next couple weeks, if not longer, so prepare for a bumpy start to this free agency ride this summer.
After getting a new coach and 2 rookies who look to be very promising, I already consider this offseason a win. However, losing Hayward in free agency without finding a quality replacement (Parsons per se?) and/or not signing Burks to an extension will take quite a bit of air from the offseason for Jazz fans' happiness.
Here's to hoping the Jazz make the right decisions the next few months.
In Lindsey We Trust

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.

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