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.
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
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.