To many words about a non-story, sorry Utah Jazz fans.
So today we’re hearing throw-away rumors about Gordon Hayward not staying with the Utah Jazz, not signing with the Boston Celtics, but instead taking his talents to ‘South Beach’. After looking at the paper trail I don’t see that happening. Sure, every team would want to add Gordon if they could. That part is true. But there’s a lot more ‘wishful thinking’ than actual ‘rumor’ here. I’ll break it down in way too many words. The main point here is that this is a story about how the New York Knicks are way worse off than the Miami Heat - a popular topic to write about in the headline grabbing New York City.
Even moreso because those two franchises are very linked because of Pat Riley and Phil Jackson. (Who played against one another, and ran programs at the professional level against one another for years with NYK/CHI and LAL/CHI. Pat was also huge in the MIA/NYK rivalry that persists today.)
This is a Knicks story. Not a Hayward story. Remember that.
NBA Rumors: 'Whispers' Gordon Hayward could sign with Heat in free agencyhttps://t.co/TDzZ9XBw5g pic.twitter.com/nvKB2Mss5z— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) March 30, 2017
Matt Moore mines deep to find this one, he writes:
Most of this summer’s big-name free agents are near-locks to re-sign where they’re at. It would be at least slightly stunning to see Chris Paul or Blake Griffin leave the Clippers, and no one would ever imagine Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant leaving the Warriors. But one name who is thought to at least be somewhat available, or open to conversations, and who could have a real impact in a terrible free agency class, is Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward.
The New York Daily News, in a delightful column highlighting how much of a failure Phil Jackson has been as GM compared to Pat Riley, notes that the Heat could be one team he looks at seriously this summer.
Sure, when you look at the New York Daily News piece by Frank Isola you get a lot of words. Very few of them are actually about Gordon Hayward.
Phil Jackson is still far from matching Pat Riley’s front office success https://t.co/vJLF1CFBg8 pic.twitter.com/q6fjaohIGQ— NY Daily News Sports (@NYDNSports) March 30, 2017
Isola writes: (and this is just an ‘excerpt’, not even the full piece - but I’m using so much to demonstrate how little of this is about Gordon.)
In Jackson’s three seasons running the Knicks, his teams haven’t sniffed the playoffs. He’s made two good draft picks with Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez but when it comes to building a culture and bringing stability to an organization, Jackson has fallen well short of expectations. Riley has had three head coaches in Miami: himself, Stan Van Gundy and Spoelstra. Jackson has had four not including himself although Jackson sometimes acts like the coach when he takes over the practice court to run a triangle clinic.
When Riley felt it was time to step in, he removed Van Gundy and coached the team himself. And to a championship, no less. Riley is done with coaching. Now, he stays behind the scenes and out of the picture.
Not even Jackson’s insult can drag Riley out of his bunker. In December, the petty side of Jackson was revealed in an ESPN story where he took an indirect subtle dig at Riley for losing LeBron to free agency. Such a comment is not standard operating procedure among league executives but Jackson couldn’t resist. It was also a little pathetic considering that Riley recruited LeBron to Miami and Jackson couldn’t even get a free agent meeting with Kevin Durant.
Jackson should be humbled by all the losing he’s experienced in New York. Just like Riley was humbled by the losing he suffered in Miami, which included a 25-win season in 2002-03. Three years later, the Heat won its first title.
There was a 15-win season in 2007-08 that didn’t even get Miami the top pick of the draft, despite having five fewer wins than anybody else. Chicago earned the top spot and drafted Derrick Rose. Riley, picking second, selected Michael Beasley.
Three years after that 15-win campaign, Miami began its run of four straight trips to the Finals, including back-to-back titles. When the losing started, Riley went to work. From all indications, Phil doesn’t have the appetite to grind.
Riley has a home court advantage because Miami is a prime free agent destination. The weather, the zero state income tax and the chance to play for a top franchise are too good for a lot of players to turn down. There are already whispers that if Utah can’t re-sign Gordon Hayward he could end up in Miami.
In the meantime, Miami has focused its energy on player development. The Heat have rescued players from the land of misfit toys — Hassan Whiteside, James Johnson, Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson — and turned them into solid contributors and valuable assets.
Okay. First thing first: All big market teams (and by direct extension: their fans) covet all the stars they think they can get. So expect everyone to speculate about Rudy Gobert leaving the Jazz in a few years as well because that’s just how the world works.
Second: There’s nothing to this rumor beyond that of “Miami is nice, and New York is in shambles.” It’s akin to saying “If Amar can’t order a pizza he could end up ordering Thai food.” We all know that it’s highly unlikey that I will not be ordering a pizza. Thai food is great, and I love it, but pizza will get here fast, be more filling, and oh please God don’t you ever leave me, Pizza!
Okay, yeah, both Boston and Miami could be great places for Hayward. They are big markets in the right time zone in a conference that is trying so very hard to get past the LeBron James hegemony. Gordon, a guy who has had success guarding and winning against LeBron over their respective careers, is clearly someone the powers that be would LOVE to have play in the East. Duh.
At the end of the day, a very smart newsman named L-Train warned me that when there are rumors or some information is leaked it is done so with a purpose. Someone is spreading those rumors or leaking that information on purpose. It’s not always just to be a ‘whistle blower’ but to get a course of action they desire.
Dropping rumors, throw-away as they are now, to a guy who writes for the NY Daily news, who then gets that rumor spread out in it’s own article by CBS . . . means achieving some goal. Whose goal? And what is it? As Moore ends his piece (and it’s really the TL;DR version of this story that you need to read, so read it here), “We’ll have to wait until this summer to find out.”
Because I’m a crazy person . . . here’s a comparison of the Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat rosters over the next few years. I think Gordon has money. I think Gordon wants to win.
This is a mess. The Jazz future point guard situation is currently a mess because they couldn’t get a deal to extend George Hill. That looks really bad compared to All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas, but Thomas is only on contract for one more season. I’m sure he may re-sign with Boston, but that’s a level of uncertainty that doesn’t exist in Miami where Goran Dragic could be Gordon Hayward’s running mate for three years. If you care about point guard action Utah looks bad here. However, Gordon wants the ball in his hands. Maybe not a huge deal.
Rudy Gobert is younger, better, and has more future upside than Al Horford and HAssan Whiteside. He’s also on the books for longer. The power forward situation in Utah isn’t great, but it’s not tragic like it is in Miami, or non-existent like it is in Boston. Boston is clearing cap so having all these gaps is fine for now. We can’t speculate on what they are going to do with their space. Maybe they add a stud here that Gordon wants to play with? Maybe they try to sell Gordon on playing PF in the East? I don’t know.
Of course, there’s always the issue of “does this team have someone at small forward, already?”
It’s clear that the Utah Jazz kind of don’t have a SF option for the long term as Joe Johnson is currently the only other guy who is on contract going forward beyond Hayward’s “Player’s Option”. The Miami Heat have a lotto pick in Justise Winslow there for the next two years unless they don’t pick up his Team Option, which would be dumb. The Boston Celtics have the disadvantage here because they just payed Jae Crowder a long-term deal for big money, and also have a lotto pick SF on the roster who is going to be there for at least the next three seasons. To me this is a problem. But of course, if you could convince Jae to play PF or Jaylen to play SG it could be okay. Still, think about it!
Overall I think Utah has a nice building block with Gobert that no other team has at his age. And honestly, being in Utah he can win. Does he care more about a possible WCF against GSW or NBA Finals against GSW? That’s probably the only difference in two-three seasons.
According to secret agent sources Alec Burks’ daughter’s name will be “Little AB”. Even more secret sources say her name is Ashtyn.
We love you Alec, but I don’t think that name actually exists. But now Burks joins the club of Jazzmen who have daughters: Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood, Derrick Favors, Joe Ingles, George Hill all do. (Maybe Joe Johnson too? I don’t know.)
Remember J.P. Gibson? Well, he’s no longer the only sick child the Utah Jazz are spending time with. Check out this story about Logan Chase who has a couple of hilarious moments interacting with Jazz players like Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert.
Through the @MakeAWish Foundation Jazz fan Logan Chase got the opportunity to meet his favorite team!— x-Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) March 30, 2017
We love you Logan! Come back anytime! pic.twitter.com/yvD62e5xCe
Big ups to the Utah Jazz and the Make-A-Wish Foundation for this. Now I just want to make sure at some point The Make-A-Wish Foundation remembers little Joel Bolomboy. Hopefully he can get some time with the team as well.
Oh, he’s actually a PLAYER on the team already? Well, someone better run and tell head coach Quin Snyder pronto!
The Utah Jazz also dropped this #TBT moment where Mehmet Okur is a) clutch, and b) hot, and c) money, and d) stops the Super Sonics.
.@AFCU - #TBT - 12/2/06@MehmetOkur13 drained the game-winning to beat Seattle 109-107! pic.twitter.com/uXpltV4gNW— x-Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) March 30, 2017
The Jazz beat the Sonics 109-107 (box score here), pushing the Jazz to a 14-4 record to start that season. Ray Allen had 33 and Rashard Lewis dropped 27 for Seattle. Utah had seven guys in double figures: Carlos Boozer (24), Deron Williams (18), Paul Millsap (16), Mehmet Okur (12), Andrei Kirilenko (11), Matt Harpring (11), and Derek Fisher (11). We love the poise of this team, that trusts each other, to go out there and get the good shot in transition. Also, great trust by Jerry Sloan not to call the time out.
So the homework today is . . . diagram your last moments of the game / no time out play for this Jazz team! Run up the floor and shoot it like Rodney Hood? Try to get a high screen and drive like Gordon Hayward or George Hill? Last second tip-in by Rudy Gobert? See, those are all just basketball moves. What the Jazz team above did was display some kind of overall unified concept.
There was chemistry on the court and off of it. We see some of that with this team, hopefully we see a whole lot more.