* Current Phoenix Suns coach Jeff Hornacek was an assistant coach in Utah last season. Hornacek was tight with young Utah star Gordon Hayward (currently leads the Jazz in scoring at 18.2 ppg), even referring to him as his ‘pupil.’
* Gordon Hayward and the Jazz couldn’t reach an agreement on an extension, so he’ll be a restricted free agent next summer.
All of that led to this tweet last night from longtime NBA writer Peter Vecsey:
According to a GM, the Suns will do everything possible this summer to sign Gordon Hayward to an unmatchable offer sheet….
— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) November 21, 2013
“Unmatchable offer sheet” isn’t a phrase I’ve heard used often in the NBA, and it isn’t one I’d expect to be tossed around when discussing Hayward. What is Vecsey – note: He loved flinging crap against the wall when he was with the NY Post – saying here? The Suns are going to offer max money? I’m bullish on Hayward’s NBA upside (he’s only 23) but as a No. 3 player on a title contender, instead of being a max-money #2 on a mediocre team.
My initial thought was that Hayward would probably want to reunite with Brad Stevens in Boston. The Celtics have made it known – this week, in fact – that they’re trying to unload some big contracts. How much of a win would it be for Boston to get a Top 3 pick – for the sake of argument, let’s say Julius Randle – and land Hayward? The Celtics would leap from unwatchable bottom-feeder to a potential starting lineup of Rondo, Bradley, Hayward, Randle and a center to be named later. In the woebegone East, that’s probably a playoff team.
That’s not a bad nucleus to build around.
Phoenix with Hayward? Well, assuming they re-sign Eric Bledsoe – he might command close to max money, too – a Bledsoe/Dragic/Hayward/Markieff Morris/Miles Plumlee isn’t a bad start at all, plus they’ll be improving through the draft, definitely with their own pick (probably 6-12 range … Michigan State’s Gary Harris?) and then two more picks later in the first (from Minnesota and Indiana) that are Top 13 and 14 protected, respectively.
Or all of this could be rendered moot because the Jazz could just match any offer to their best player.