A lesson from Gordon Hayward‘s free agency three years ago might affect the way the Jazz approach Rudy Gobert, writes Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insiders. Although Hayward and Utah were only a few million dollars apart in extension talks, the Jazz decided to let him become a restricted free agent. He signed an offer sheet with Charlotte that Utah eventually matched, but the shorter contract means the team lost a year of his services. Hayward is now in a position to opt out next summer. Gobert, who is eligible for an extension through October 31st, has a comparatively low cap hold and may be able to help Utah by holding off on extension talks until July. But the Jazz have to be concerned that he might sign an offer sheet before they can line up other free agents.
There’s more news from the Western Conference:
- Clippers coach Doc Rivers says Kevin Durant was intrigued by the team’s offer to make him the focus of its offense, relays Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Rivers adds that the Clippers’ representatives had a good feeling after their meeting with Durant and were disappointed when he chose the Warriors. “The Celtics and us and Oklahoma [City], we all thought we were going to get Kevin Durant,” Rivers said. “I don’t have a problem with that, I really don’t. I think the players have a right. They take the risk of being free agents. A lot of guys could sign early and play it safe. A lot of these guys take a risk because of their health. Durant did that, and when we left the meeting, we thought he was coming to us. When Boston left the meeting, they thought he was coming to them. I think Golden State knew where he was going. Good for them. But you’ve still got to play the game.”
- The Spurs picked up a top 10 center when they signed free agent Pau Gasol, according to A.J. Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today. Gasol is coming off an All-Star season in Chicago where he ranked fifth among centers in scoring, sixth in rebounding, first in assists and fourth in blocks. The Spurs will count on him to help fill the void left by Tim Duncan‘s retirement.