Gordon Hayward signed a four-year, $63 million max offer sheet with the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday morning, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. However, the Jazz are expected to match and may take their time in doing so:
Jazz will match Gordon Hayward's $63M sheet, but wouldn't be a surprise to see them take full 3 days to notify Hornets, sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 10, 2014
If Utah waits the full three days before matching, much of Charlotte's cap space remains tied up with Hayward and they could miss out on other targets.
Hayward received the max offer sheet despite struggling a bit in a feature role with the Jazz last season. The 24-year-old averaged 16.2 points and 5.2 assists, but he shot a career-worst 41.3 percent overall and 30.4 percent from three.
Still, it's not hard to see why Hayward was so coveted. At 24, he can still improve and there's plenty of room for growth. While he struggled at times last season, that could have been a function of not being ready to handle the duties of a No. 1 option. With a little more seasoning, expect more efficiency.
That likely improvement is one of the reasons the Jazz will match. That and the fact they don't want to lose an important asset for nothing. Utah isn't in a position to let a player like Hayward walk, so they'll take on that hefty price tag and bank on him making more strides as a player as the team rebuilds.