The Utah Jazz and up-and-coming forward Gordon Hayward "remain far apart" in negotiations on a contract extension, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. Talks could run all the way up until the Oct. 31 deadline for teams to extend players from the 2010 draft class.
Hayward, drafted ninth overall in the 2010 draft, has emerged as a cornerstone for the Jazz over the past two seasons. Now that the team has fellow core player Derrick Favors locked up on a four-year extension, the next logical step for the franchise remains a deal that keeps Hayward around for a similar term.
Not long after the Favors deal got completed for $49 million, reports emerged that Utah and Hayward were discussing a contract that would pay the wing even more. Some analysts around the league felt surprised someone easing into a starting role would command such a high sum, but Favors got paid and the market for Hayward indeed appears to be quite strong.
In 72 games last season, 27 of them as a starter, Hayward averaged 14.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. A rangy defender, he also grabbed one steal per contest, and he's a talented long-range shooter who knocked down 42 percent of his three-pointers in 2012-13. Assuming he keeps building on that base of defense, shooting and perimeter skills, it's not surprising Utah may be willing to pay up for the versatile 23-year-old's services.