With the NBA Finals coming to a close, free agency is just around the corner set to begin July 1, so players are beginning to weigh their options of where they want to play next season.
One of the most coveted free agents this summer will be Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward, who was named an All-Star for the first time in his seven-year career this past season.
While the Jazz still have to be considered the favorites to keep Hayward as they can offer him more money than any other team, it appears that the 27-year-old may be considering other teams.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Hayward is showing interest in the Miami Heat:
But a source connected with Hayward said this morning that Hayward now has interest in the Heat, as well as other teams. (The Heat should by no means be called the favorite – Utah warrants that position – but Miami is positioned to at least be in the mix.)
But Heat president Pat Riley can be very convincing, and it won’t be surprising if he gets a meeting with Hayward. And if Riley gets a player in a room, anything can happen.
The Heat could make sense for Hayward, as they lack a true All-Star, but have solid players like Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic. After starting the season 11-30, the Heat closed out the season going 30-11 to finish at 41-41, barely missing the playoffs.
Along with Miami, the Boston Celtics will also be in the running to sign Hayward, as Celtics head coach Brad Stevens coached Hayward in college at Butler.
Despite his possible interest in leaving, Utah still has the ability to offer him a five-year, $179.2 million contract, while all other teams can only offer him four years for $132.9 million.