Whether he ends up with the Utah Jazz or the Charlotte Hornets, someone is going to end up paying too much money for Gordon Hayward, who is a good, young and talented player, but not the kind who should be earning maximum money, nor should he be the number one option for anyone looking to do more than add more lottery picks in the NBA.
But the Hornets have a lot of money to spend, and they know the Jazz have made threats that they’ll match any offer anyone makes. Talk is cheap, actions mean everything. The Jazz aren’t exactly known for being big spenders, so suddenly giving Hayward, a player who struggled last season with the burden of being the best on a bad team, $63 million over four years doesn’t sound like such a smart decision.
The Hornets are out of the years in the cellar. The drafting of Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the addition of Al Jefferson. This team means business, and isn’t satisfied with a first round appearance in the postseason. Maybe Michael Jordan had enough of the jokes and criticism at his expense. After butchering the 2010 team that made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, it seems like he’s finally swinging for the fences, as much as possible with this kind of small market team.
The Jazz are different. They like their drafted players over the last couple of years, but this team seems to be intent on not going over the salary cap, let alone the luxury tax. Sometimes it feels like if that’s their main goal, not winning games or putting on a good basketball team. That is what makes Hayward, who averaged 16.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists last season, such a difficult decision to make.
The new CBA, despite all the big talk from certain owners, didn’t change a lot. It still makes it very difficult for small-market teams to obtain big names. It forces them to overpay talent in order to acquire or keep it. Hayward, who might be an All-Star potential, especially in the East, is perfect example of that. His chances of success seem greater in Charlotte right now, but there’s a connection and a road he started in Salt Lake City.
He’ll be happy either way, becoming one of the highest paid players in the league despite not doing anything too outstanding during his four seasons in the league. It’s not so certain that the team that actually gets him at the end of this three-day period the Jazz have in order to match the offer will be as happy as him in the long run.