“We love who he is. He’s a great character guy for us,” Lindsey said. “He’s a huge part of what we’re doing here and we support him in his decision and not getting it worked out is difficult for all of us.
“We’re going to make sure that we support him as much as we can,” the Jazz coach added. “We love to have him here. We look forward to coaching him for a lot of years. We’ll get through this.”
Corbin also told Hayward, “This is not going to be a distraction.”
That might be one positive about this deal not being done for Hayward. At least he doesn’t have to deal with daily questions about his contract situation. Those will be put on hold until next year sometime.
Hayward admitted there is a “relief” and that he’s looking forward to “just go out there and focus on what’s really important, and that’s helping us get wins.”
The 23-year-old maintained that he allowed his agent to deal with the nitty-gritty details. As an example of that, Hayward talked about spending Thursday night, leading up to the extension deadline, playing pool, watching teammates bowl and catching NBA games.
Hayward knows it was a gamble to not take the deal on the table, but he said his focus is to simply go help the Jazz win. A good season could increase his stock next offseason. A rough year or injury could take a toll on his potential earnings.
“I have a lot of confidence in my abilities,” Hayward said, “so we’ll let the chips fall where they may next summer.”
With a smile, Hayward warned reporters what will happen when questions about his contract come up again.
“I’ll probably be giving you guys the same answers,” said Hayward, who is always guarded with his answers to contract questions. “They’re not going to be any different.”
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