The Jazz have matched the Hornets maximum-salary offer sheet to Gordon Hayward, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter links). Hayward will sign with Utah today. The move was expected, as the Jazz had been planning to match any offer the restricted free agent would receive on the market.
Hayward will receive a total of $62,965,420 over the course of the deal, with a starting salary of $14.746MM. It’s the most that Charlotte or any team other than the Jazz could have given him in an offer sheet. He was eligible for as much as $84,789,500 over five seasons if he’d signed directly with Utah, which helps explain why the Jazz all along seemed content to let him negotiate with other teams, only to swoop in and match.
The 24-year-old secured the max offer from Charlotte amid interest from several teams. The Jazz were unable to sign Hayward to a rookie-scale extension last fall, which put in motion the process leading to him becoming a max player this offseason. Utah offered significantly less during extension negotiations, so Hayward’s choice to decline their offer and hit free agency has paid off for the small forward.
The Priority Sports & Entertainment client will look to lead an improved youth movement in Utah alongside new addition Dante Exum, whom the Jazz selected with the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft. Hayward turned in career-best averages in points, steals, assists, and rebounds per game in the 2013/14 season, but did so in the most inefficient year of his career on a Jazz team that struggled in only winning 25 games.
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