This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
On Friday, the Jazz traded for Ricky Rubio, a point guard and passer extraordinaire who is one of three players in NBA history with a career average of eight assists and two steals per game.
On Saturday, they agreed to re-sign Joe Ingles, one of the best role players in the NBA. He was a restricted free agent, and yet the Jazz didn't let Ingles get to the open market and come back with a potentially poisonous offer sheet.
For the Jazz, retaining Gordon Hayward is all that's left.
According to sources, that was all part of the pitch to the unrestricted free agent small forward Monday afternoon at Hayward's home in San Diego:
Make the team whole.
The two sides met for almost four hours, sources say, covering a variety of topics and pitching the potential of Hayward and Rubio playing together. It was Hayward's third meeting in as many days. He met with the Miami Heat on Saturday, and the Boston Celtics on Sunday.
"The meeting went well," a source told The Salt Lake Tribune.
All through the weekend, social media blew up with speculation about where the prized free agent may land. On the heels of the Heat meeting, reports surfaced of Miami taking the lead in Hayward's sweepstakes. Saturday night was noted for Heat center Hassan Whiteside making a two-minute video pitching the advantages of playing in Miami. Then, there was the silly Twitter battle between Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, each using emojis to pitch his franchise.
Monday represented the last chance for the Jazz to impress Hayward on the direction of the franchise, Utah's ability to win now and in the future. In doing so, the Jazz made a significant effort. They flew in Rubio from Spain. Jazz owner Gail Miller made the trip, along with President Steve Starks, general manager Dennis Lindsey and coach Quin Snyder. Gobert was in the room, along with Rodney Hood and Ingles.
Hayward now has a decision to make, and he has reasons to pick any one of three teams.
The Heat feature a great front office, led by Pat Riley, a terrific coach in Erik Spoelstra, a good-weather location and no state taxes.
Boston has stockpiled a ton of assets. The Celtics are ready to win immediately, and they have perhaps the easiest path to future improvement with a bundle of favorable draft picks.
Utah has its young core. The Jazz have the best non-Hayward player of the three teams: Gobert. And Lindsey has deftly guided the Jazz back to prominence with a number of solid moves over the years.
In addition, the Jazz have catered significantly to Hayward in the free-agency process. Knowing incumbent starting point guard George Hill could potentially cost too much on the unrestricted market, Lindsey traded for Rubio. Sources say Hayward is excited at the potential of playing with the Spaniard, who is one of the best passers in the league, as well as one of the better defending point guards in the league.
Ingles did much to earn his new contract with his playmaking, defense and shooting. He and Hayward are also good friends and have developed a chemistry on the floor. Snyder's offense can and will continue to focus on Hayward's all-around abilities.
Of the three teams in the running, the Jazz have the most to lose. With him, they are a top four team in the Western Conference. Without him, even with Gobert's talents, they will struggle to make the playoffs.
Hayward will make a decision in short order, sources say. But for now, the speculation, the recruiting, it's over.
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