Despite being in active negotiations up until the Thursday night deadline, Gordon Hayward and the Utah Jazz failed to close the gap on the framework of a contract extension and never discussed a five-year, maximum-level deal, league sources told RealGM.
Hayward’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, had maintained tireless, lively discussions with the Jazz’s front office, but the two sides couldn’t agree to a long-term deal. Hayward will become a restricted free agent next offseason.
For Hayward, his personal intrigue in the negotiations weighed heavily as a distraction, and the young forward now must regroup mentally and shift complete focus onto the basketball court.
“He didn’t enjoy the process, but he knows it’s part of the business,” Bartelstein said on Thursday night.
As the No. 9 overall draft pick in 2010, Hayward, 23, has infused the Jazz with a versatile playmaker, and the organization has made clear its intention to sign him to a new contract – whether it was before the deadline for his draft class or in free agency.
Yahoo! Sports first reported that discussions between Hayward and the Jazz had ended.
Armed with Brad Stevens and salary room, the Boston Celtics are seen league-wide as a team that will provide significant free-agent competition for Hayward.
Hayward averaged 14.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and three assists last season. He showed strides in his passing and rebounding during the preseason and scored 12 points with five assists and four rebounds in the Jazz’s season opening loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
Hayward was drafted into the NBA after two standout seasons at Butler Univeristy.