As NBA Free Agency 2014 rolled on, Gordon Hayward headed back to the Utah Jazz as they matched the offer sheet that he had signed with the Charlotte Hornets.
Hayward absolutely has the potential to be a legitimate, max-contract-worthy player, but he did little to inspire confidence in that eventual outcome during the 2013-14 season. His three-point percentage plummeted from 40.1% over the first three years of his career to a putrid 30.4%, and his turnover rate took a negative turn, too. Hayward would have fit nicely in Charlotte with Kemba Walke, Al Jefferson, and new rookie Noah Vonleh, and an overpay probably wouldn’t have been devastating for Michael Jordan‘s Hornets.
In Utah, however, a max-contract without much around him is a bad move. Second-year player Trey Burke and exciting Australian rookie Dante Exum are a great start, but there isn’t much reason to assume that Hayward will all of a sudden put things together in his fifth season while still playing with a raw Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter down low and a pair of young guards. Unless, of course, Exum is a complete and utter revelation, which is certainly possible.
Outside of Utah clogging it’s cap space, there weren’t a ton of moves consummated on Saturday. Pau Gasol announced on Twitter that he would be joining the Chicago Bulls, but Chicago will need to clear some cap space before the signing becomes official. It would seem to damage the possibility that Love would be sent to Chi-Town, but it doesn’t make it impossible. They still need scoring.
Vince Carter signed a three-year, $12.2 million contract with the Memphis Grizzlies while Dallas’ cap space was tied up in the Chandler Parsons offer sheet. The Grizzlies decided to sign the 37-year-old swingman and allow Mike Miller to further explore free agency.
One of the more intriguing signings was sharpshooter Anthony Morrow‘s pact with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Morrow shot 45.1% from three-point range last year for New Orleans, and has poured it in to the tune of 42.8% over his six-year career. The contract is three-years and a bit over $10 million; very affordable for such a proficient specialist.
The Wolves were apparently never interested, despite Morrow being an absolutely perfect fit off the bench next to Ricky Rubio. Everywhere he’s played, he’s drained threes at an impressive pace, and he’ll be a deadly fit in Oklahoma City.
As for the Kevin Love trade front, there were a few unlikely rumors floating about that should be ignored entirely, but other than that, nothing has changed. Cleveland is being dumb and not offering Andrew Wiggins, and the Wolves are still pining to acquire Klay Thompson from Golden State and hand him a maximum contract.
At any rate, things could ramp up again at any moment. Our new staff writer, Pat Rao, will be posting a recap from the first Summer League game shortly, so keep an eye out for that. Have a great rest of the weekend.