Restricted free agent Gordon Hayward, Charlotte agree to max deal

Published July 9, 2014 10:09 am

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Gordon Hayward is the Utah Jazz's top priority this offseason.And as the restricted free agent has shopped around the league, in search for a new deal, all indications have pointed to the Jazz matching any offer Hayward might receive.Now we'll see for sure.According to a source, Hayward has agreed to sign an offer sheet from the Charlotte Hornets once the league's moratorium ends Wednesday at 10 p.m. MT. The Charlotte Observer was the first to report the deal late Tuesday.Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the deal will in fact be a maximum contract worth $63 million over four years.Once a deal is signed and the offer sheet sent to the Jazz, the team would have 72 hours to match.Hayward was thrust into the role of being the Jazz's top option last year. His squad struggled to win and he struggled with his shot, dipping to career lows in field goal and three point percentage.But Hayward also showed off his diverse skill set.Hayward averaged 16 points, five rebounds and five assists.Last week, Hayward visited with Cavs officials in Cleveland, but left Ohio without a deal. The 24-year-old swingman's next stop was Charlotte, spending Monday and Tuesday with team officials there.The Hornets made the playoffs last season under first-year head coach Steve Clifford and would stand to improve their lot in the East by adding Hayward's talents to a roster that includes his one-time teammate Al Jefferson.But the rebuilding Jazz also see Hayward as a key piece."The Jazz feel like he's young enough and enough of a hard worker that he will get better," an NBA source told The Salt Lake Tribune last week. "They think he can get better and that he can take a leap forward."Utah had a chance to extend Hayward in the fall, but the two sides were unable to reach a deal. Now Hayward stands to receive the biggest raise possible.And the Jazz will have to decide if he's worth the price.— Aaron Falk