Gordon Hayward is set to hit the open free agency market and is going to receive a massive payday. After leading the Utah Jazz to the second round of the NBA Playoffs last season, Hayward is expected to receive interest from many different teams. One of those teams is the Miami Heat, who are hoping to make a splash in free agency.
Pat Riley has always been known as being an aggressive general manager. He went out and signed LeBron James awhile back and signing Hayward would just be the latest in a long line of big free agency moves.
According to a report from Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune, Hayward will open free agency with a July 1 meeting with the Miami Heat. He is then expected to meet with the Jazz on Monday, with the Boston Celtics likely to receive a meeting at some point after that.
Needless to say, this is good news for the Heat. They have been rumored to be a potential landing spot for Hayward all offseason long, but now they are actually receiving mutual interest from him.
Last season with the Jazz, Hayward ended up averaging 21.9 points per game to go along with 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Hayward shot 47.1 percent from the field overall and knocked down 39.8 percent of his three-point attempts.
Hayward is a rising star in the NBA and could break into superstar status at some point in the near future. Signing with a team like the Heat would give him much more of a market as well. Utah is not known as a big market team and playing in South Beach could help take him to the next level.
While the Heat should be excited about getting a meeting with Hayward, it will take a lot to convince him to leave Utah. He has been very vocal about his love for the city and fan base in Utah. If he does leave Utah, it would make more sense that he would leave for a championship caliber team in Boston, where he would reunite with his old Butler head coach Brad Stevens.
All of that being said, it will be interesting to see what the upcoming offseason has in store for Hayward. He is going to be mentioned in a lot of rumors, with the Heat likely being attached to some of them.
Expect to hear plenty of news about Hayward’s visit with the Heat on Saturday night. Miami is going to put a full-court press on him and it will be intriguing to hear what his initial thoughts about their offer are.
Do you think the Miami Heat will end up signing Gordon Hayward? If not, where do you think he will end up when everything is said and done? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Lynne Sladky/AP Images]