Gordon Hayward

Report: Gordon Hayward meeting with Cavaliers, max offer sheet could be on the way


The Utah Jazz have been resolute in consistently saying that the plan is to match any offer that Gordon Hayward might receive this summer as a restricted free agent — including those tendered at the maximum level allowed.

Talk like that can often scare other teams away from actually making the offer, since once it’s signed those dollars tied to it can’t be used to go after anyone else while the team that holds the player’s rights takes its time in debating whether or not to match.

But for a team like the Cavaliers, who don’t exactly have anywhere close to star-level free agents lining up there to sign, it’s a risk worth taking. And Hayward may be similarly willing to force his current team’s hand.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Utah RFA Gordon Hayward is meeting with Cavaliers officials in Cleveland today, sources tell Yahoo. Offer sheet could be forthcoming.

And from Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com:

Cavs believed to be preparing a max offer sheet for restricted free agent Gordon Hayward, sources said. Yahoo reported he is visiting today

The Suns and the Celtics have also expressed interest, but it appears as though things are getting serious with the Cavaliers.

Utah likely was hoping to get Hayward at a number less than the max, maybe in the neighborhood of $12 million a season. But once he signs that offer sheet, the Jazz won’t have a choice. A full max for Hayward would be five years, $85 million in Utah, and four years, $63 million anywhere else.

Teams like the Jazz need to overpay for star talent, and Hayward’s overall game may dictate they do just that.

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.