SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz are officially on the clock when it comes to Gordon Hayward.
The restricted free agent signed an offer sheet for a four-year, $63 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday. Utah will have until Sunday at 9:59:59 p.m. to declare its intentions of matching.
Sources again confirmed that the Jazz will match and keep the 6-foot-8 guard/forward in the organization.
Hayward averaged 16 points, five rebounds and five assists during the Jazz's 25-57 season of 2013-14, and management is optimistic that the versatile athlete will flourish in new coach Quin Snyder's fast-tempo, open-style offense.
Utah likely won't officially match until the final day of its three-day decision period, according to a source. And not just to get back at Charlotte for attempting to snag one of its best players. One reason it makes sense for Utah to wait is that the Jazz can use an extra $6 million of cap space to acquire a free agent, although there is no guarantee that will happen.
On Thursday, the Jazz also announced the trade with Toronto that was reported last week. Utah will get veteran big man sharpshooter Steve Novak and the rights to a 2017 second-round pick (via the Knicks) in exchange for point guard Diante Garrett.
In order to pull off that trade on the first day after the NBA's transaction moratorium, the Jazz had to clear up cap space by renouncing the rights of veteran free agents Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush. Those two players could still be used as pieces in sign-and-trade deals if Utah opts to do that.
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