So it’s done. The Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, and Utah Jazz all made their pitches. Gordon Hayward and family first visited Florida and heard from Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra, and at least Hassan Whiteside. I didn’t bother following who he met in Boston, where he flew to next. But it was the Jazz that went to him in San Diego. And we’ll find out tomorrow if he will end this NBA Free Agency charade and return to Utah.
USA Today’s Sam Amick tweeted out the only thing we really need to know:
Gordon Hayward will sleep on his decision to go to Utah, Boston, or Miami, I'm told. Another July 4 declaration it is...— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 4, 2017
At the risk of tugging at Jazz fans' heart strings, I'm told Utah made a very strong impression on Gordon Hayward & he's genuinely torn.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 4, 2017
But I think it was the Salt Lake Tribune’s Tony Jones who did all the hard work here and went into specific details (hours before Sam’s tweet):
The @utahjazz await @gordonhayward's decision after nearly four hour pitch to the forward on "making the team whole" https://t.co/T4UQpyLeM4 pic.twitter.com/GYcC8KrUlB— SL Tribune Sports (@sltribsports) July 4, 2017
From Jones’ article:
The two sides met for almost four hours, sources say, covering a variety of topics, and pitching the potential of Hayward and Rubio playing together. It was Hayward's third meeting in as many days. He met with the Miami Heat Saturday, and the Boston Celtics on Sunday.
"The meeting went well," a source told The Tribune.
All through the weekend, social media blew up with speculation about where the prized free agent may land. On the heels of the Heat meeting, reports surfaced of Miami taking the lead in Hayward's sweepstakes. Saturday night was noted for Heat center Hassan Whiteside making a two minute video pitching the advantages of playing in Miami. Then, there was the silly Twitter battle between Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, each using emojis to pitch their franchise.
Monday represented the last chance for the Jazz to impress Hayward on the direction of the franchise, Utah's ability to win now and in the future. In doing so, the Jazz made a significant effort. They flew in [Ricky Rubio] from Spain. Jazz owner Gail Miller made the trip, along with President Steve Starks, general manager Dennis Lindsey and coach Quin Snyder. [Rudy Gobert] was in the room, along with Rodney Hood and [Joe Ingles].
Hayward now has a decision to make, and he has reasons to pick any one of three teams.
Check out the full article for more specific details and a breakdown of what the Utah Jazz did in the run up to this meeting for a final push to keep their star, and for a speculation on how it’s going to all turn out.
Tomorrow is Independence Day. But personally, hopefully not one where the Hayward’s celebrate their Independence from the Beehive state, and all that it has to offer him. It’s really simple, do you want to play with Gobert, or against him?
Forget everything else. Embrace your destiny.
To be a Jazzman. For life.