Gordon Hayward agrees to terms with Charlotte, but Jazz set to match
Utah is able to absorb a larger-than-ideal contract for Hayward, who will have a player option in the fourth season, thanks to orchestrated financial flexibility. Even with Hayward's large raise, the Jazz will still be between $9-$13 million below the estimated $63.2 million salary cap, depending on whether they keep nonguaranteed players (Ian Clark, John Lucas III, Malcolm Thomas and Erik Murphy).
Although some speculation has arisen about a sign-and-trade possibly being worked out between Charlotte and Utah, that isn't likely to happen. The Hornets simply don't have pieces that fit the Jazz's puzzle.
Yahoo Sports reported that Hayward's offer sheet includes a 15 percent trade kicker. Charlotte inserted that, included a fourth-year player option and offered Hayward max money in hopes to make matching the contract less attractive for the Jazz.
Hayward spent two days in Charlotte as the Hornets pitched for him to reunite with former Jazz center Al Jefferson, who signed a three-year, $41 million deal there a year ago.
When the Jazz retain Hayward, Utah will have 10 players on its roster with guaranteed contracts and four with nonguaranteed pacts for the 2014-15 season. As usual, the team will likely carry 13-14 players, leaving a roster spot or two open for a midseason acquisition or a D-League callup from its new affiliate, the Idaho Stampede.
The Jazz still could sign another free agent before fall camp, but the to-be-finalized trade for Steve Novak gives Utah a veteran big man sharpshooter it was in search of this offseason.
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