The NBA free agency season is quickly approaching as the season continues to wind down. As the playoffs pick up, plenty of teams are already shifting their focus to the upcoming offseason. There will be quite a few high-profile free agents available this offseason, with Utah Jazz star Gordon Hayward being one of them.
Just a couple years ago, Hayward was nothing more than a solid role player. Over the last couple of years, he has taken his game to a new level and earned his first career All-Star appearance this season.
During the regular season this year, Hayward averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. He shot 47.1 percent from the floor overall and connected on 39.8 percent of his three-point attempts. Those numbers alone prove that Hayward has vaulted into the upper echelon of NBA talent.
— Priority Sports (@PrioritySports) April 13, 2017
At just 27-years-old, Hayward is set to hit free agency market if he wants to. That would give him the opportunity to cash in with a big contract and there are plenty of teams that will line up to offer him that money.
All of that being said, which five teams are the best potential fits for Gordon Hayward in 2017 NBA free agency?
First and foremost, staying with the Utah Jazz would be a perfect option for Hayward. Utah has built around him and are prepared to pay him a max deal to keep him in town long-term. Hayward could opt to leave, but the grass is not always greener on the other side.
If Hayward were to decide to leave Utah, the Boston Celtics are the first team that comes to mind. His college coach Brad Stevens is in Boston and the Celtics have been searching for another star to pair with Isaiah Thomas over the past couple of years. Danny Ainge would gladly offer Hayward a max contract this offseason.
— Celtics Report (@celtics_fanly) April 8, 2017
Larry Bird cannot waste any more time finding help for Paul George and Hayward would be an ideal fit. George and Hayward would form one of the most dominant scoring duos in the NBA and could power the Pacers to the top of the Eastern Conference. At the very least, adding Hayward would make the Pacers a legitimate threat to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Los Angeles Lakers
Magic Johnson has made it clear since taking over the basketball operations job in Los Angeles that he will attempt to make a splash for the Lakers. Paul George is one name that has come up, but Gordon Hayward would make sense as well. Los Angeles may not be the best fit, but they are certainly a team with the money and a need for a star to build around.
New York Knicks
Perhaps the most intriguing option, the New York Knicks could go into a re-tooling mode this offseason. Phil Jackson will look to trade Carmelo Anthony and replacing him with Hayward would be a big step in the right direction. New York is a top free agency destination and could intrigue a player like Hayward.
Needless to say, the upcoming offseason will be a very interesting time for Gordon Hayward. He has plenty of options and even more suitors to choose between. These five teams can all offer him the kind of money that he will be looking for, as well as the type of fit that he needs to remain a top-notch star.
Where do you think Gordon Hayward will end up signing? Is there another team that you think would be a good fit for him that isn’t currently on the list? If so, let us know in the comment box below.
[Featured Image by Nam Y. Huh/AP Images]