LeBron James is coming home, but Hayward is staying home.
“We’re extremely appreciative to Michael Jordan, Rich Cho, Steve Clifford and the Hornets for wanting Gordon and making Gordon feel like such a critical piece to the team they’re building,” Hayward’s agent Mark Bartelstein said to ESPN. “That’s something that’s really appreciated by Gordon and myself, not just the contract but the whole presentation that they made.”
I have a feeling the forward’s agent is also appreciative to the Hornets for driving up the price on the Jazz. It is too bad for Jordan, because his team made the playoffs last year after a few brutal seasons.
The Jazz, on the other hand, may have just locked Hayward in to be their superstar of the future, and it is a job that would have been better suited for Jabari Parker. We all know how that worked out though.
Hayward averaged career-highs of 16.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists last season, which is admittedly impressive. But the Jazz would have been far wiser to lock up the 24-year-old small forward before he hit free agency. It would have been a lot less expensive and also set the Jazz up to re-sign more of their big men down the road.
They might have just signed Hayward to a contract more deserving of a truly elite player.