Jazz, Hayward fail to agree on contract extension

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Utah's small forward is betting on a big season in Salt Lake City.

The Utah Jazz had hoped to continue their rebuilding process by extending Gordon Hayward's contract, but Yahoo! Sports has reported the two sides have failed to reach an agreement, and he'll become a free agent next summer.

Hayward will be a hot commodity for teams looking to add a talented young small forward in the offseason. That said, his status as a restricted free agent will allow the Jazz to match any offer sheet he signs, which is something they'll likely do. Utah also just signed forward Derrick Favors — Hayward's 2010 draft classmate — to a 4-year, $47 million-plus extension.

It is believed that Hayward will command north of $50 million on the open market, and there will be plenty of suitors going forward. Among them, Hayward's former college coach at Butler.

This from Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski:

Two teams with ample salary-cap space have head coaches - Boston's Brad Stevens and Phoenix's Jeff Hornacek - who have history with Hayward and think highly of his talent. Stevens coached Hayward at Butler University, and Hornacek was a Jazz assistant coach before taking over the Suns.

Hayward could get an early termination option and trade kicker as part of an offer sheet next summer, factors that will provide a greater level of discomfort if the Jazz match an offer.

More from ESPN's Marc Stein:

League sources say Hayward was NOT seeking four-year max but parties couldn't close gap even after Jazz CEO Greg Miller spoke optimistically.

Hayward's decision not to sign at this point is the result of his willingness to gamble that he won't get seriously injured and that he'll command more in restricted free agency next summer than he does currently. It's a risk, but the forward is betting on his ability to make a big leap in his fourth year in the league.

Utah has made it clear they'd like to make Hayward one of its building blocks moving forward, but that's going to have to wait for now.

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