How the Jazz can deal with losing Gordon Hayward
With the Jazz going to the playoffs for the first time since 2012 it could all come crumbling down if Gordon Hayward leaves. He does have a player option this summer; which he will probably decline and become a Free Agent. The Jazz will do everything in their power to keep Gordon Hayward.
The Jazz have an advantage over all other teams as they can offer an extra year and a yearly increase of 8% vs other teams of only 5%. Will the money be enough to convince Gordon to stay in Utah and continue growing not only as an individual but as a team? The Utah Jazz still have ample years of growth, as most of their players are young and still have time to flourish.
Others teams can offer a max of $131 million over 4 years vs the Jazz max offer of $137 million over the first 4 years. The Jazz also have the option of adding an extra year of approximately $40 million, giving a total of $177 million over 5 years. If money is the issue the Jazz win this battle.
If his decision is purely based on success he will go to the Celtics as they have the highest ceiling of teams that can afford him. Reasons for the Celtics having the highest ceiling are they just made the conference finals and took one game off the Cavs. They have the #1 Pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and have a pretty good chance of getting it again in 2018, also having players on good contracts and plenty of moveable assets, helps as well. Whether the Jazz can be competitive in the West with juggernauts like the Warriors and Spurs, going East maybe the best option for success as the only major competitive is Lebron and the Cavs.
Scenarios if Gordon Leaves Utah
Retooling the roster with a couple of quality players that can be impactful around Rudy Gobert and the rest of the team is probably the easiest way for the Jazz to be successful. Obtaining players that can have an immediate impact is going to be expensive, giving up on some young players and draft picks would seriously impact the Utah Jazz long term future. Possible options of players that can come and do this and perform better than other options on the roster are, Eric Bledsoe, Evan Fournier, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari. All these players can come in and pick up some of the slack, with the possibility of Gordon Hayward and George Hill leaving.
Retooling the roster is purely based on short term success and there are other options which could possibly lead to more long term success.
Rebuilding the roster is a realistic option, but only a minor rebuild is necessary, with the main focus being on how the Jazz can be a successful team with Rudy Gobert as the main guy. The most important piece if Gordon Leaves is finding a replacement or players that can take a large step and pick up the slack.
Three of their young players Dante Exum, Rodney Hood and Trey Lyles all have the potential to impact the game at a high level. For them the most important thing is to gain experience and learn from their mistakes. In this scenario with the loss of both Gordon Hayward and George Hill, Dante Exum and Rodney Hood would have a great chance to be the starting backcourt, gaining plenty of experience and valued playing time.
In the 2017 NBA Draft the Jazz have two first round draft picks which they can possibly use to trade up into the mid first round, however, if they are happy with their position, they can choose two players that will benefit their long-term future.
If Gordon leaves, focusing on player development and finding personnel that can impact both team and individual success would be a good option.
Investing in the Draft
The 2017 Draft has been rumored to be one of the best draft class in a while, however, in my opinion, it is not as good as people think, as I believe some of the top prospects at the start of the season have disappointed many. A possibility that Utah should consider is trading into the top 10 if they believe they are in position to find an all-star caliber player, but the odds of finding that player are slim. Considering the amount of assets the Jazz would have to give up to get into the top ten, this is a very risky move, but if they really like a prospect they might go for it.
Tanking is another possible option, but ultimately not being competitive just isn’t Utah Jazz basketball. Tanking is a long term plan which might take a period of 5 years to be competitive again, but this may lead to a better chance of winning a championship. Many players on the Jazz older than 24 will not be in their prime when the Jazz are competitive again, so turning these players into draft picks or young players with potential would be best in this situation. The only problem with tanking is getting out of that team mentality that tanking creates and turning this into being competitive.
If Gordon Hayward leaves there are many different scenarios that could benefit the Utah Jazz. In my opinion, the Jazz should prioritize long term success over short term gain. I feel that a minor rebuild of their roster and focus on the development of their young players is the right approach to take.