The free agency of star forward Gordon Hayward will come to define the Utah Jazz’s offseason. Where should the franchise proceed if he leaves for another team?After a season surpassing expectations, the Utah Jazz are in for a tumultuous and potentially franchise-altering offseason. Many pieces will be in motion, but the singular most important storyline to follow over the summer months will be Gordon Hayward‘s free agency.
Hayward will almost certainly decline his player option for next season at $16.7 million, a sound move considering he’s a lock to receive a four or five-year max contract at upwards of $25-30 million per year.
In his first All-Star season, Hayward averaged a career-high 21.9 points to go with 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Only eight other players achieved those numbers last year, and when you factor in his 39 percent three-point shooting, no one else matched his production.
The numbers are impressive on their own, but Hayward functions as the engine for virtually everything the Jazz do on both ends of the court, making him incredibly valuable to Utah. When he plays on the ball, they can use his excellent dribble-probing and passing ability to create looks in the half-court, …