Gordon Hayward will visit the Hornets next week, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Charlotte has held interest in the restricted free agent since before free agency began, and now it appears that the Hornets intrigue Hayward, too, at least to a degree. He’s friends with former Jazz teammate Al Jefferson, and the Hornets center will be a part of the team’s pitch to Hayward, according to Bonnell.
The Jazz have nonetheless made it clear they’ll match any offer for the 24-year-old, which left the Cavs reluctant to make an offer when Hayward visited Cleveland earlier this week. Hayward and the Celtics have mutual interest, too, and the Suns apparently have been interested on some level in a deal approaching the max. There were conflicting reports about whether the Cavs were prepared to make a max offer when they met with Hayward, ranked No. 6 in the latest edition of the Hoops Rumors Free Agent Power Rankings. Charlotte, should it decide to offer the max, has ample cap flexibility to do so.
Utah and the Mark Bartelstein client were reportedly discussing an extension this past fall worth more than the four years and $48MM the team gave to Derrick Favors, but they were unable to come to terms. Still, the Jazz, who wield the hammer of being able to bring Hayward back to Utah no matter which team he signs with, appear comfortable with the restricted free agency process. It’s playing out just as they expected, tweets Jody Genessy of the Deseret News (Twitter link).