This should not be a surprise — everyone remembers their college friends fondly and wants to reconnect. (Except for your freshman dorm roommate.)
Gordon Hayward has a lot of fans in front offices around the NBA because he has a versatile game that could be plugged into nearly any team and system. The restricted free agent averaged 16.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists last season for the Jazz, can score in the paint and on the perimeter, can create his own shot, is a good defender, and is moderately efficient. He’s a little of a “jack of all trades master of none” if you want to nit-pick, but a lot of teams could use him.
Probably nobody would know how to use him better than Boston’s Brad Stevens — he coached Hayward at Butler. Stevens has reached out, according to Baxter Holmes of the Boston Herald.
And the interest is mutual, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
Hayward certainly would be an upgrade over the inconsistent Jeff Green at the three for Boston. No doubt.
All this college reunion talk is nice, but what matters is money.
The Phoenix Suns are reportedly considering a max offer for Hayward and the Jazz have said they would match. Whether they mean that or are just making that public to scare off potential bidders remains to be seen, but the price tag to get in the Hayward sweepstakes has been set.
Does Ainge want to throw all those chips into the pot and dare the Jazz to call over Hayward? That seems a steep price for the versatile forward. But go to what you consider a fair price and the Jazz likely just match.
Stevens may want Hayward but this is difficult to envision coming together.