Some teams bring in iconic local greats like The Boston Celtics did by bringing Tom Brady and David Ortiz to meet Kevin Durant last year. Other tech savvy teams like the Golden State Warriors by Silicon Valley use state of the art gimmicks like virtual reality presentations to successfully lure their star to their team. The Jazz will court one of their own players in one of their biggest free agency campaigns in franchise history. So how should they go about it?
Hayward has said winning is his top priority. The second round this year was great but he doesn’t just want to be satisfied with that. The Jazz ether need to show Hayward how they plan to add another scorer to compliment him or show their plans to improve the scoring opportunities for his supporting cast as presently constructed.
The Jazz fans are using the Fund raiser of the 21st century, GoFundMe to put up several “Stayward” billboards over the next month and a half leading up to free agency. This will be good eye candy for the star forward as he looks around the Salt Lake Valley for what hopefully isn’t the last time he calls Utah home.
Utah might not have a lot of past sports legends but they have a few. The Jazz should bring the statues, Stockton and Malone to challenge Hayward to do in Utah what they couldn’t do: win a championship. Current star center Rudy Gobert said his pitch to Hayward would be to just ask him if he wants to win a championship. Steve Young also has some great Utah roots and the Mormon Tabernacle choir could sing a joyous rendition of “Carry on my Wayward son.” while substituting the “wayward” for Hayward.
The main competitors seem to be all back East as the Jazz are probably the best team that can afford Hayward’s Max contract out west. The Celtics, Pacers and Heat all have links to Hayward. Gordon grew up in the Hoosier state, the Mecca of basketball. Paul George reportedly wants out of that situation so maybe the Jazz could give up some pieces to acquire the first PG-13 movie that will be viewable by kids in Utah.
The Celtics will bring Brady and Ortiz back to make another pitch at Hayward this summer. They will also undoubtedly bring Brad Stevens, his former college coach to show him a clip of his Butler days. He will likely show Gordon a clip of his halfcourt potential game winning shot in the championship vs Duke that barely rimmed out. Brad will likely turn to Hayward and say “This time let’s finish what we started.”
Pat Riley will lay out more rings than he has fingers to entice Hayward but with a losing record, old Pat hasn’t been able to lure the big fish since the big one King James returned to his home pond.
While it is uncertain what will happen this summer. It depends on how good Boston does in the NBA playoffs and the All-NBA team selections will affect just how many teams are willing to pay Hayward the max. It’s certain that the Jazz and at least a few teams back East will offer him the max regardless.
Prediction: Sadly it is Boston. Unless the Jazz can reel in a free agent and convince Hayward to sign for another couple years, he will go to Titletown to try to hang up another banner with Danny Ainge. His priority is winning and the Jazz have yet to prove that they are a championship organization. If Boston wins the second round of the NBA playoffs and challenges Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals, Gordon will have a good reason to believe he is the missing piece to the puzzle in Beantown. Then the new Boston three Party would be Horford, Hayward and IT.
Jazz fans better hope the echoing chants of “Gordon Hayward” in the NBA playoffs will make him know that he will be wanted here if he stays. After all, isn’t a Stayward sign much more appealing than a post free agency sign that reads “Coward”?