The Cleveland Cavaliers have set their sights on restricted free agent, Gordon Hayward. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo sports reported, “Utah Jazz restricted free agent Gordon Hayward is meeting with Cleveland Cavaliers officials in Ohio today, and a lucrative, multi-year offer sheet is expected to be forthcoming, league sources told Yahoo Sports.” The Cavs could offer a maximum deal of four years, paying roughly $60 million, starting around $15 million the first season.
Officially, the deal can’t be signed until July 10th, but at that time, the Utah Jazz will have three days to decide to match the offer. Utah has been hoping to re-sign the forward, but nothing was agreed upon. Ultimately, the Jazz will have to cough up the dough if they intend to retain their 2010, 9th overall pick.
Gordon Hayward is coming off a stellar campaign in which he averaged, 16.2 points, 5.1 assists, and five rebounds in 77 games started. The four year veteran registered 22 games with 20 plus points. Cleveland can’t help but view Hayward as a complimentary piece to Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins. The 24 year old allows the Cavs to remain young, but he brings experience and talent. Last year, Hayward improved upon his career numbers of 12 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game.
Although, Hayward isn’t considered a number one, the forward is an excellent shooter when able to plant his feet. During his rookie campaign, 68.2% of his buckets came off assists while last season, only 40.2% did. Regardless of the lack of play creativity, that is what we have point guard, Kyrie Irving in charge of. Irving and Hayward could pack quite the 1-2 punch.
Despite, the meeting, nothing official has been agreed upon or announce yet, but what could this mean for the remainder of free agency? Signing a small forward to a mass contract could eliminate Cleveland from the Lebron James sweepstakes. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers have been unable to schedule a meeting with James yet and may have found another suitor.
Whether Cleveland overpays for Gordon Hayward or not, this report signifies the direction our franchise wants to go. Although, the hope for Lebron James still lingers in the air, I believe the Cavs direction is focused on composing a successful team with or without a “superstar.”
– Max Gold
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