We’ve all heard the bad news. Our much loved Gordon Hayward has decided to take his talents elsewhere – Boston. This offseason the Jazz have been completely focused on bringing Hayward back by trying to surround him with talent. They traded up twice in the first round of the NBA Draft, and traded a future first round pick for Ricky Rubio, who Hayward has been rumored to like. They even made it a priority to re-sign Joe Ingles, who is said to be Haywards best friend on the team.
But now Hayward has left the Jazz high and dry to test the Eastern conference with the Celtics. So what should the Jazz do now? The free agent market is drying up as each day passes. What looked like a fruitful market, is starting to look very disappointing, especially for a team who just lost their best player.
Even though the Jazz won’t be able to find talent anywhere near the level of Hayward, there are still a few options out there. The Jazz could possibly make a few trades, or go after a free agent and hope they fit well with their currently young and developing squad.
If the Jazz go after a guy in free agency, there are a few I think would be good fits.
2017 Stats – 18.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.8 APG / 45.4 FG%, 37.2 FG3%, 17.9 PER
Gay has been a great scorer throughout his entire 10-year career. Most recently he was rumored to have interest in signing with the Thunder, but after receiving an offer lower than expected, the Thunder used that money for Patrick Patterson. I know that Gay has had some injury issues, especially after a torn achilles tendon this past year, but at the right price he could be a good fit for the Jazz to make up for those 20 PPG they will be missing.
Otto Porter Jr.
2017 Stats – 13.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.5 APG / 51.6 FG%, 43.4 3FG%, 17.3 PER
Porter has developed into a great player for the Wizards. He is long, and has great range. Many think he can be a future all-star with a very high ceiling. I would have to agree. If he weren’t the 3rd option in Washington, I would imagine he would be averaging more like 17-20 PPG. I think he could do that for the Jazz, but there is a high demand for Porter right now. The Nets have made him an official offer, but the Wizards have matched it, also the Kings attempted, but the Wizards matched it. I’m assuming they will do the same if Utah decided to offer him a contract, but maybe the Jazz could pull off a sign and trade to drag him away from the Wizards. Not likely, but anything is possible, right?
2017 Stats – 8.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.1 APG / 50 FG%, 37.9 3FG%, 13.5 PER
Yes, I know Green is a power forward and would not be a direct replacement for Hayward. But, I do think he has a chance to be very good and would be a great fit for the Jazz. Currently, the Jazz need guys who can score and stretch the floor. Green reminds me a ton of Paul Millsap, he’s about the same size, and has the same ceiling in my opinion. If the Jazz could bring in Green and one other smaller name free agent, it would add great depth to their roster.
2017 Stats – 12.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.6 APG / 47.9 FG%, 34 3FG%, 17.0 PER
Johnson is coming off a great year with the Heat. Because of the Heat’s interest in Hayward, he was most likely needing to sing elsewhere in order to make space for Hayward. But with Hayward off the table, I would expect the Heat to go after him. If they don’t land him, I think he can bring great athleticism and scoring ability to the Jazz. He plays hard, and shoots the ball at a good percentage.
2017 Stats – 13.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.2 APG / 46 FG%, 39.8 3FG%, 14.9 PER
The Celtics just added a big contract to their payroll with Hayward. They now need to move a few pieces in order to make room. I would imagine Crowder is as good as gone, considering he plays the same position as Hayward, and they now have more depth and youth on the bench (Tatum and Brown). Crowder is a dog and plays hard. He goes after it on the defensive end, and offensively he is very efficient and smart. Not sure what the Celtics are looking to get for him, but the Jazz do have assets with expiring contracts.
2017 Stats – 15.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.0 APG / 46 FG%, 33.7 3FG%, 14.9 PER
Chandler is coming off a career year with the Nuggets. He is a proven scorer with playmaking ability. He is also a seasoned vet who can provide leadership for the Jazz, who are one of the youngest teams in the league. I know Denver is looking to possibly get rid of a few players, too, after signing Paul Millsap to a 3-year $90 million deal. The expiring contract of Diaw could possibly be tempting, along with maybe a future draft pick.
2017 Stats – 14.4 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.1 APG / 49.5 FG%, 26.5 3FG%, 15.6 PER
TJ is young, and for the most part, not very well known. He has been with the Suns for 3 years now, and has shown promise. Unfortunately, he has had a few injury problems. But he can make plays and score when given the opportunity. The Suns were rumored to have interest in Derrick Favors earlier this year. Maybe they could make a swap?
The Future is Now
Dennis Lindsey has made some great moves since taking over as GM, and also some not so great moves. But for the most part, he has set this team up to succeed. I really don’t see the Jazz crawling back in to re-build mode. I know it’s smart to always have your eyes set on the future, but the Jazz have said multiple times that they want to win now.
Whatever happens, it will be for the better of the team. I would expect DL to make some big moves in the next week or so.
– Jesse Thayne