Gordon Hayward has had a breakout season with the Utah Jazz (46-29) as they currently hold the 4th seed in the Western Conference after finishing one game out of a playoff spot last season. In his stellar season, Hayward in averaging 21.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. The 27-year-old has set himself up to earn a big contract this offseason, possibly from a team other than Utah.
The latest rumors have Hayward potentially joining the Miami Heat once the offseason strikes. Miami has been missing a dominant forward since LeBron James left for the Cleveland Cavaliers after losing in the NBA Finals in 2014.
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) March 30, 2017
The biggest question here is to whether or not Hayward wants to play in Utah for the remainder of his career. If he signs there this offseason, it’s likely he could choose to play there for another decade, but all of this depends on if Hayward is happy in Utah. If he wants to move to a larger market and play in front of a larger fan base, this could be his last run with the Jazz.
— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) March 30, 2017
As Miami fights for a playoff spot and continues to shock the league after rebounding from a disastrous beginning to the season, they have been put back on the national map. Their brilliance as of late has Erik Spoelstra as a potential Coach of the Year candidate, making Miami a prime destination for free agents. Playing in a market like Miami’s is already a dream for many NBA stars, but being able to play for a top-tier coach makes it that much better of a location.
Hayward has played with premier coaches throughout his career, whether it be Brad Stevens or Quin Snyder, so playing for Spoelstra would nothing new for him. He’s used to playing for a coach who knows how to coach stars, so this makes a perfect match.
Miami has a great team that can keep them in the playoffs for years to come, but if they want to become a championship contender once again, signing Hayward must be a priority once the offseason hits. With Hayward in the picture, Miami goes from a team fighting for a playoff spot to one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.