Gordon Hayward to Become a Restricted Free Agent

by November 01, 2013

Once promising negotiations eventually slowed down, and then came to a complete halt. Gordon Hayward was unable to reach a deal with the Utah Jazz, and he’ll become a restricted free agent in July. Per the Deseret News: “Ultimately, we just couldn’t reach a deal that both sides felt good about,’ Hayward’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, said moments before the 10 p.m. deadline. ‘That happens sometimes. No hard feelings at all. No one’s upset. This doesn’t change the way Gordon feels about the Jazz.’ Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey’s response to the sides failing to come to an agreement: ‘No comment.’ Rebuilding Utah was able to secure one cornerstone piece for the future of its franchise last month when it extended 22-year-old Derrick Favors’ contract through the 2017-18 campaign. The Jazz honored the power forward’s incentive-filled $47.7 million deal with a press conference Monday morning. Now the earliest the organization can hold a similar love fest for Hayward, considered to be a leader, playmaker and key member of the Jazz’s youth movement, is next offseason. If that even ends up happening. Hayward will become a restricted free agent next summer, meaning the Jazz can match an offer from another suitor if they so desire. But the versatile 23-year-old will play his fourth year in the NBA without the peace of mind of a contract in hand past mid-April. An interesting dilemma, considering the Jazz are looking to Hayward for increased leadership and overall production this season. Hayward wasn’t available for a comment Thursday night, but the Indianapolis native expressed interest in continuing his career in Utah this week. ‘I would love to be here,’ Hayward said. ‘That would be great, especially playing with Fav and be a part of this franchise. It’s a great franchise. I would love that.’ On Thursday night, his agent said the Jazz player wanted to emphasize that he maintains a ‘tremendous sense of loyalty’ to Utah, which drafted him ninth overall in the 2010 NBA draft.”