losangelesnewstoday.com April 24, 2018

Heat will visit with Gordon Hayward first

30 June 2017, 12:42 | Stacy Ballard

During an appearance on Boston's 98.5 The Sports Hub last week, Danny Ainge, who has publicly supported his son's political ventures, laughed off how the Hayward pursuit could divide the family.

Gordon Hayward will be among the top players available when the free agency period begins, and Pat Riley has reportedly secured the initial meeting.

The Celtics are widely expected to make a push for Hayward in free agency.

According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, Gordon Hayward has notified the Utah Jazz that he has opted out of the final year of his contract, and will become a free agent on July 1.

The ability for Hayward to potentially team up with George and join a 53-win club, however, is something that neither the Heat nor Jazz can offer. Spending a total of seven seasons wearing the Jazz uniform, past year marked the first time that Hayward shot over 20 points per game.

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Sources told Jones that Hayward "wants to take his meetings, and make a decision in short order".

The Heat and Celtics can offer four-years deals of approximately four years for $127 million. The Jazz can offer him a five-year deal worth approximately $180 million.

Earlier this week, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported that the Jazz are already preparing for life without Hayward.

If Hayward is in place, the Celtics would then trade for George, a 6-foot-9 forward from the Indiana Pacers.

The Butler University product's standard per game line - 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists - suggest he'll help any team. They moved up in the 2017 NBA Draft to select Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell, who could prove to be a long-term replacement for the departing Hayward. The team might be days away from signing Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin in free agency and completing a trade to acquire Paul George.

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