Report: Gordon Hayward has interest in joining Heat
The stars from the first chapter of the rivalry between the Celtics and Heat are long gone, with all of them either retired or onto new (maybe even old in the case of LeBron James) adventures.
But the new chapter may very well begin through the courting process of a star each team desires: Jazz forward Gordon Hayward.
It’s expected that the 27-year-old Hayward, a first-time NBA All-Star but denied the chance at a ‘super-max’ contract from the Jazz after missing out on an All-NBA team this past season, will hit the open market this summer as one of the league’s most sought after free agents. Hayward has also been rumored to have drawn interest from not just the Jazz (who can still offer him the most money out of any interested team this summer), but also the Celtics and the Heat as well.
The Celtics, coached by Hayward’s college coach at Butler, Brad Stevens, have long been rumored to be in the market for Hayward, so their interest is nothing new.
The Heat, meanwhile, are relatively new to the mix, and sources in Miami believe that Pat Riley’s club may have a real shot this summer.
“An associate of Hayward said several weeks ago that he hadn’t heard Miami was particularly on Hayward’s radar and viewed Boston as the next-best option if he left Utah, which obviously wants to keep him,” the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson wrote. “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.”
With over $30 million in cap space, Hayward would be a definite start for Riley, who made his biggest free agency splash back in 2010 when he landed both King James and Chris Bosh to form a Heat superpower that went to four straight NBA titles from 2011 to 2014, winning it all in both 2012 and 2013, and open the door for an accelerated return to greatness for the Heat.
In Miami, Hayward would join a noteworthy cast featuring Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, and perhaps Dion Waiters (he’ll opt out of his contract and test free agency, but could return to Miami) that finished strong, with a 30-11 record to close out the regular season (41-41 overall).
And it’s there in Miami that Hayward would remain a go-to sharpshooter and star talent, whereas he’d likely become the third piece of a Boston big three next to Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford.
Losing out to the Heat on Hayward would seem like a devastating blow to the Celtics, especially when you consider the inside connections many believe that the C’s have when it comes to Hayward (Stevens and their prior relationship being chief among them), and would seemingly keep the Celtics locked into a position where their ceiling remains that of the East’s second-best team behind the Cavs.
Still, Hayward’s best payday would come with a decision to remain in Utah, as he can get five years and $179.2 million from the Jazz opposed to four years and $132.9 million with a new team.
Full article @ Report: Gordon Hayward has interest in joining Heat
Source: GreenStreet Blog