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Utah Jazz: Re-signing Hayward a priority for the Jazz

Published June 30, 2014 10:36 am

Utah vows to keep swingman Hayward, who can take offers from other teams.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Gordon Hayward will be a restricted free agent, able to receive an offer sheet from any team in the NBA in less than 48 hours. When he gets that offer, the Utah Jazz will have to decide to match or let their starting small forward walk away for nothing.

Marvin Williams is an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with any franchise in the league. And while he's a role player in Utah, he's valuable as a shooter, a locker room influence and is one of the few veterans on the roster who can also make a sizable impact on the court.

When General Manager Dennis Lindsey negotiates with both simultaneously, he will also be looking for ways to upgrade a Utah team that has a new coach, two new draft picks and one of the youngest lineups in the NBA.

This is the whirlwind that is the Utah Jazz. It's been the offseason that hasn't had much "off" in it. On Monday at midnight, the free agency period starts and teams can start negotiating with players around the league.

Sources told The Salt Lake Tribune that the Jazz will tier the available free agents, have conversations and see where there is a common interest. But at the top of the priority list is Hayward, the best all-around player on the team. While the former Butler star will have significant interest on the market, Lindsey has said for two months that the Jazz plan to match whatever offer comes his way.

"We anticipate Gordon being a part of our franchise for a long time," Lindsey said in the moments following last week's NBA Draft.

Mark Bartelstein — Hayward's agent — told The Tribune that the two sides "have good intentions," and that he looks forward to speaking to Lindsey in hopes of getting a deal done.

The two sides negotiated last year with the Jazz offering $10 million a year, but couldn't come to an agreement. When reached by The Tribune, Bartelstein said neither side harbored any ill feelings from that negotiation before the 2013 season.

"The Jazz have been great from the day Gordon got here," Bartelstein said. "He's been treated with class. We just kind of have to go through the process and work really hard at it. I think on both sides, intentions are all in the right place."

While Bartelstein seemed more than optimistic about Hayward, an NBA source said Williams has enjoyed his time in Utah and is "open and willing" to returning to the Jazz. His being an unrestricted free agent makes things more complicated for Utah — as are various reports pegging Williams as being a wanted commodity by title contenders, such as the Miami Heat.

Sources told The Tribune that the Jazz are looking for more shooting in free agency from more spots on the floor. Utah could be in the market for a power forward such as Detroit's Greg Monroe, or a small forward such as Houston's Chandler Parsons. Those are two players who fit Snyder's system of stretching the floor.

Those same sources say the Jazz know that they will probably have to overpay if they want to get a free agent good enough to speed up their rebuilding process. If the Jazz can't get that type of player, sources say they are willing to take on players who have expiring contracts. This is similar to the path Utah took last season when it brought in Richard Jefferson, who ended up being the starter at small forward for the bulk of the season.

The Jazz would like to round out an almost painfully young roster with veteran help. With LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony being unrestricted free agents, the rest of the league will probably be on hold until they decide what to do. Then rosters around the NBA will start filling out, rather quickly.

But Utah has a plan on what it wants, and how to execute it.

That plan gets put into motion on Monday at midnight.

tjones@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tjonessltrib Key free agents for the Jazz

• Gordon Hayward

The skinny: Starting small forward who is a restricted free agent. The Jazz will almost certainly match any offer made to Hayward.

• Marvin Williams

The skinny: Good role player, has become a stretch power forward that teams covet. Wants to stay, but a contender may lure him away

Some free agents the Jazz may pursue

• Greg Monroe, power forward, Detroit Pistons

The skinny: Fits in with the system almost perfectly. Has size, can handle the ball, can rebound and defend.

• Chandler Parsons, small forward, Houston Rockets

The skinny: Very versatile, can play with Hayward, would give Jazz size, shooting and ball-handling.

Trevor Ariza • Small forward, Washington Wizards

The skinny • Can shoot and defend. Is a textbook 3-and-D guy in the league. Is athletic and can finish in transition.