The Suns have a ton of money to spend, enough to sign top free agent LeBron James to a max contract. Should their first plan of free agency fail, the backup options include a more realistic signing of Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward, according to sources of the Deseret News’ Jody Genessy.
Genessy reports that Phoenix will make Hayward, a restricted free agent, a shiny contract offer that could edge into max territory but adds that the Jazz are willing to match it.
Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek is very familiar with Hayward, who was tutored by the former Utah guard for three seasons before Hornacek became the head coach in Phoenix.
If the report is accurate, Hayward would likely be looking at a contract similar to that of Eric Bledsoe’s deal that could be pushing $16 million in its first year. Like Bledsoe, who was in the Jazz forward’s draft class, Hayward still has his question marks but is considered one of the league’s best young players. Hayward is one of the younger players that has been invited try out for USA Basketball’s men’s national team this summer.
The Boston Celtics and Charlotte Hornets are also prepared to make a run at Hayward, according to Genessy.
Hayward averaged 16.2 points, 5.2 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game in 2013-14.