Gordon Hayward’s free-agency decision may be more than a two-team affair after all.
According to the New York Daily News‘ Frank Isola, there are rumblings that the All-Star forward may join the Miami Heat if he decides to move on from the Utah Jazz:
Riley has a home court advantage because Miami is a prime free agent destination. The weather, the zero state income tax and the chance to play for a top franchise are too good for a lot of players to turn down. There are already whispers that if Utah can’t re-sign Gordon Hayward he could end up in Miami.
This isn’t that farfetched. The Heat are going to have a ton of cap space, particularly if they’re able to purge Chris Bosh’s deal from the ledger, and they need another playmaker. Hayward isn’t the perfect off-ball option, but he’s experienced away from the action enough to complement Goran Dragic. At the very least, the dynamic between them wouldn’t be as weird as it was between Dragic and Wade.
It’s even fair to call the Heat a top-three option, behind the Boston Celtics, who are coached by Hayward’s college coach, Brad Stevens, and the Jazz. But they’re a distant third.
Hayward’s free agency has long been considered a two-team race, between Boston and Utah, and it’s unlikely he chooses to leave for a team that finishes with a worse record than the Jazz, even if the Heat have been on fire for half of this season.