Rumor: Gordon Hayward told Jazz he wanted to play with Ricky Rubio

AP Foto/Hannah Foslien

It was widely believed Gordon Hayward and George Hill, both free agents, wanted to continue playing together.

The Jazz traded for Ricky Rubio while trying to re-sign Hayward. (Hill, also still an unrestricted free agent, has a far murkier future.)

How does that sit with Hayward?

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

Trading for Rubio was a good move for the Jazz, whether or not they keep Hayward. But, obviously retaining Hayward is the No. 1 priority.

Did Hayward ask Utah to go get Rubio? Or did Hayward, presented with the Rubio trade terms just before it was completed, say something like, “Um, yeah, sure”? Or something between?

There’s plenty of room for varying interpretations, especially by those interested in leaking Hayward’s Rubio endorsement.

Hayward has immense leverage as a star free agent. Utah, a potential destination for him, became more attractive by acquiring Rubio. But that doesn’t mean the Jazz became more attractive to Hayward than the Celtics or Heat. Hayward can also tell Boston and Miami which players he’d prefer to play with in hopes those team create situations in case he signs with one of them.

Again, the Rubio trade helped the Jazz either way. How much Hayward influenced the deal might just be a matter of spin.