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How NBA Teams Feel About Gordon Hayward -- The Downbeat #1394

Behind enemy blogs on the Jazz's prime free agent. Also: Dante Exum is a rich man. Also also: FanPosts.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Gordon Hayward is a popular young man. He may be off the bachelor market, but his restricted free agency has caused more than a few teams to bat their eyes and bite their lips. Uh, figuratively speaking.

Since we haven't heard of any firm movement on the Jazz free-agency front (at time of this writing, anyway), I thought I'd see what other SB Nation team blogs who covet our G-Man are saying.

First up is Kevin O'Connor (not THAT Kevin O'Connor) of CelticsBlog, who posits what it might take to get Hayward in Celtic green, and why Boston would want him:

...No matter what he's offered, he'll have to either refuse to sign an offer sheet, deciding instead to negotiate a separate contract, or he can sign an offer sheet with any team other than Boston, which Utah would likely match.

If all of this happened, then Boston who would likely have to throw a massive offer Utah's way in order to complete a transaction. It's not unrealistic that a deal would have to include a wing (Jeff Green), a big man (Jared Sullinger), and a future draft pick.

Gordon Hayward might be worth it though, because he always makes an impact as a do-it-all player on both ends of the floor. Even though his percentages dipped last season, he has consistently been a terrific three-point shooter throughout his career, both off the catch and the dribble. Hayward has also developed into an efficient secondary ball handler, with the skill to either score or dish it off to a teammate. He's also a terrific rebounder for his position and is a very good team defender.

It's nice to think about seeing Hayward and Stevens reunite in Boston, but it appears the only way it's happening is if he forces his way to the Celtics, tarnishing his relationship with Utah. But basketball is a business, so we'll see.

That's a fairly substantial offer O'Connor proposes (Green, Sullinger and a pick). Depending on the contract numbers, if I'm the Jazz, I'd certainly consider it.

In any case, I feel fairly safe in declaring the Celtics' interest in Hayward "serious."



Next up on Gordon's list of gentleman callers

(wait that sounded weird)

Next up on Gordon's list of suitors: the Phoenix Suns. They've been rumored as a competitor for his services since Jeff Hornacek took the head coaching job. But the Suns' interest may have, ahem, "cooled" a little after Hayward's sub-par season in 2013-14.

Take it away, Bright Side of the Sun:

The Suns and Gordon Hayward have seemed like a good match for years, until Hayward completely tanked it this past season that is. Everything fell apart for him.

But you could say that his shooting declined when Hornacek left, and he's still just 23 years old. A reunion with Hornacek could be just what Hayward needs. As a small forward in the Suns' offense, Hayward could be that third playmaker and stretch the floor with shooting, while also rebounding at a good rate.

Hayward still put up 16 points, 5.2 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game in a bad year on a really bad Utah team. He draws 5 free throws a game (making 82% of them) and until this season made 40% of his threes. Hayward still appears to be a perfect fit in Hornacek's offense and though he's not defensive dynamo he moves better than Marcus Morris.

The hesitance with Hayward is a 30% three-point shooting this season, and the looming contract. It's hard to imagine Utah giving him away for a normal contract amount ($8-10 million per year), so the Suns would either have to entice them with a trade of good assets and/or offer bigger money.

I'd really explore this one hard, and try to get it done.

Sounds like the Suns see Hayward as that attractive guy/girl you admire from afar, then once you get to know them better you see flaws you didn't realize they had...but they're still too hot to just write off.

(Why, yes, I am in my thirties and unmarried. Why do you ask?)

Where was I? Oh, right. Still, Phoenix has plenty of money to throw around this offseason, and they know Hayward wouldn't have to step in as a primary scoring or ball-handling option immediately. I'd definitely says the Suns are "interested."



Break time for FanPosts!

In case our Prince Charming does leave us, RHJazz considers possible replacements for Hayward on next year's roster:

Even though Jeff Green and Parsons stats might not be as impressive as Haywards (though extremely similar), you have to remember they're not the focal points of their offense, whilst Hayward was, allowing him to do more and pad his stats. This is especially the case for Parsons, being surrounded by famous ballhogger and flopper James Harden.

Basically, i've just stated some similar replacements to Hayward, nothing too outrageous(like Bron and Melo), and this is all in theory. But who would you rather have? Vote below or comment for others.

Mykroberts, in a self-proclaimed "post-draft delirium," examines some possible lineups:

He may not be ready at the beginning of the season, but I really hope Exum is getting atleast 30 mins by the all-star break. (In addition to the F5 if they are all still here - and there are easily enough mins to accomplish that).

If the Jazz don't retain Hayward they might need a FA SF because otherwise it will be left to a rookie and two tweeners (Hood/Evans/Burks). Any ideas for what SF to target if we let Hayward get away?

My favorite (not best) theoretical lineup is the Super Long Lineup - not sure who fits at 3 here but if this group can't be coached to play some serious D there probably is no hope for that coach.

1. Exum
2. Burks
3. Hayward/Hood/Evans
4. Favors
5. Gobert

And longtimejazzfan tries to set some realistic expectations for Dante's first year in the NBA:

The 2014 NBA draft has come and gone. The Jazz seem to want to pat themselves on the back for their latest draft selections. How will fans know if the Jazz have an All-Star or Superstar on their hands? What should the realistic expectations be for Dante if he is to be considered a future pillar for the Jazz organization at 19 years of age? I hate to be pessimistic so early after the draft but looking at Kobe and McGrady who both entered the NBA at a young age, it does appear that Dante is heading for some rough waters in Jazzland.

Thanks, everyone! Isn't it nice to have actual Jazz news to write FanPosts about?



Back to the Gordon Hayward dating game. The last team on the list is something of a surprise suitor: the Cleveland Cavaliers. Having already locked up Kyrie Irving , and with Andrew Wiggins in their back pocket, the Cavs still have some money to burn (since it seems like LeBron is likely staying in Miami).

Here's Cavs blog Fear The Sword on His Haywardness:

Hayward is coming off of a bit of a down year in which Utah asked him to be the number one scoring option. When he has been paired with a competent point guard, he's shown a lot of promise. At 6'8, he has good athleticism, handles the ball, and is a pretty good shooter. On a similar number of attempts, he has shot 41.5% from three in 2012-13, and 30.4% last season. The Cavaliers would be banking on the former being a better representation of Hayward's shooting ability.

Doesn't sound like they're quite in love, or even serious "like like" yet. But they've gotta spend their cash somewhere. They may not be ready to move in for the digits, but they're making eyes from across the party.



Last item: Dante Exum hasn't even played a summer league game or had a practice with his new team yet, but he's already a very wealthy man, as Australian athletes go:

Exum has already signed endorsement deals with Adidas, Red Bull and basketball card company Panini America.

Add in the $4 million or more he will earn in his first NBA season and Exum will vault into the BRW Top 50 Sports Earners list alongside the likes of fellow basketball star Andrew Bogut ($16 million), golfer Adam Scott ($15.5 million) and cricketer Shane Watson ($6 million).

Who knew cricketers made such big money? Enjoy it, Dante.