Utah Jazz radio voice and Jazz NBA Insider David Locke returns with his daily TIPOFF podcast. He looks back at free agency, goes over the news of the day, and discusses Utah’s deals and the team’s Summer League performance.
The Utah Jazz signed Trevor Booker today. The terms were not disclosed, but reports are two years and $10 million. Booker was a four-year player at Clemson and the 22nd pick of the 2010 draft by the Wizards. He has some international experience as well as he played for USA Basketball in the World University Games.
Booker gives the Jazz nice insurance on the front line. He has 105 starts in four years. Think of the Jazz front line as two centers (Favors and Gobert) with Kanter as the power forward. With the additions of Trevor Booker and Steve Novak, the Jazz now have options on how they want to play when they go to the bench at the power forward spot.
Moreover, if Kanter misses any games, Booker is capable of stepping into the starting lineup—which is not something you want to do with Steve Novak.
Booker is physically strong. He is a decent rebounder, grabbing a 17.7% defensive rebounding percentage last season. His defensive rating over the last three years has been 104,102 and 104. The Wizards were far more successful defensively when he was coupled with Gortat than with Sheraphin or Nene. This is likely because Booker is not particularly mobile and athletic, so he is better playing alongside a bigger, more athletic big.
Offensively, he is a bruiser who has developed a bit of a mid-range game. Last year he shot 46% from 10 to 16 feet—a huge improvement in his game and well above the league average. In his career, he has shot 36% from 16+ feet, which is right about league average.
Booker had a strong finish last season. He started 26 of 30 games and shot 56% after the All-Star break. In April, he averaged 11 points per game and shot 65%.
Booker fills a need for the Jazz. He gives them a physical presence. He brings maturity to the locker room. Some nights, when the Jazz go small and spread the floor with the power forward position, he will have a limited role. On other nights, if Kanter is out or having an off night, they will need a solid 25 minutes out of him, which he proved he could do for Washington.
I would suspect the Jazz overpaid for him this season (to acquire him for more than the mid-level exception or tax-payer exception) because they have cap room and because the second year is limited in how much of it is guaranteed.
According to Yahoo! Sports and the Charlotte Observer, Gordon Hayward will receive a max offer sheet from the Charlotte Hornets totaling $63 million over four years. Let me try to address a few questions on this issue.
WHAT CAN THE JAZZ DO TO NOW THAT HAYWARD HAS AN OFFER SHEET?
The Jazz have three choices:
1) They can say, “No thank you; this is too much money for Hayward and we’re going to pass.” This allows Hayward to leave and all the Jazz get is cap space.
2) They can try to negotiate a sign-and-trade deal where the Jazz would actually sign Hayward and then trade him to Charlotte for pieces the Hornets give the Jazz. However, the Hornets have very little the Jazz would be interested in as their roster is currently constructed.
3) The Jazz can match the contract offer and assume the contract as their own.
WHEN DOES ALL THIS TAKE PLACE?
The offer sheet, while reported today, can’t be official until July 10. Once the Jazz receive the offer, they have 72 hours to match the deal.
WHAT WILL THE JAZZ DO?
The Jazz will match the contract and retain Hayward under this four-year $63 million contract.
WHY WOULD THE JAZZ MATCH THIS CONTRACT WHEN IT OVERPAYS HAYWARD?
First, the Jazz have drafted and developed Hayward. He is their player and the Jazz cannot afford to let him walk without receiving anything in exchange.
Also, Hayward is really good. We can debate if he is a “max” player, but he is really good. He is likely to average around 16 points, five rebounds and five assists for the rest of his career. He is an elite passer for a wing. He makes his teammates better.
Yes, the contract is paying Hayward more than he has achieved at this point in his career, but that is the game of free agency and it only takes one team to bust open the bank for a player, so the Jazz must deal with those consequences.
Moreover, the Jazz are in a salary situation where they should still have between $20–$26 million of cap space next year, and another $10 million before the luxury tax.
If the Jazz let Hayward walk, what else would they do with that money? The Jazz wouldn’t be able to get a comparable player in the marketplace. Signing a veteran on a rebuilding team in Salt Lake City is impossible, and trying to find another player of Hayward’s ability at 24 years old is is also highly unlikely.
The Jazz value Gordon Hayward as a player. He is a special talent. Not many players in this league can average 16-5-5 like Hayward can, and if you look at the great teams, nearly all of them have a playmaking wing.
This is minor, but the increases on the contract are only for 4.5% each season and the cap is expected to grow each year at higher than that rate, so Hayward contract will take up less of the cap each year of his contract.
Let’s make sure we remember that Hayward is our best player. You can’t lose your best player.
BUT GORDON DIDN’T HAVE A GREAT YEAR LAST YEAR AND SHOT JUST 41%. HOW CAN HE GET A MAX CONTRACT?
The market is over-saturated with money and lacks talent. When the market opened, I counted 24 slots of $12 million or more available for players and only 12 players who were near-worthy of a $12 million contract.
It also tells you how the rest of the league views a player that can produce the numbers I just mentioned. The league lacks talented wing players, so the combination of playing a position that is in demand and a market that is overloaded with money created the ideal situation for Gordon Hayward.
HOW GOOD OF A PLAYER IS GORDON HAYWARD?
As I mentioned before, not a lot of players, average 16-5-5 in this league. Playmaking wings are both really important and scarce.
Hayward’s best talent is what he does for his teammates.
When Hayward was on the floor, Favors shot 54%. When Hayward was off the floor, Favors shot 46%. The same goes for almost everyone on the Jazz last year. Trey Burke’s EFG% was 46.5% with Hayward on and 39.8% with him off. The same applies to Richard Jefferson (55.6% vs. 51%), Alec Burks (50.5% vs. 47%) and Enes Kanter (50.5% vs. 46%).
DOES GORDON WANT TO PLAY IN UTAH?
Absolutely. Nothing that has taken place in this process means Gordon doesn’t want to play in Utah. Hayward’s agent and family have done exactly what the process dictated they should do. Last year, the Jazz and Hayward were in negotiations and couldn’t come to an agreement. One of the main reasons, they couldn’t come to an agreement was Hayward’s agent understood what the marketplace would be this offseason for Gordon. Therefore, they went into restricted free agency and got a max deal. Now the Jazz are obligated to do what they said they would do the whole time: match the offer. The Jazz have been unbending in their belief in Gordon as a player and how important he is to the franchise. When the Jazz match the contract, they will show action behind their words in this process.
Hayward took the risk of playing a year without a long-term contract and it paid off for him. The Jazz, knowing the market, decided to make Hayward get the offer and he was able to do that. That’s how the rules dictate the game. Both sides played it, and at the end they are still together on the same team.
CAN THE JAZZ STILL SIGN ALEC BURKS AND ENES KANTER?
Nothing is as easy as a “yes” or “no” … but basically, yes. Hayward’s first year of his contract is for $14.75 million. The Jazz will still have $26 million in cap room and another $10 million or more until they hit the luxury tax, so they should be able to sign both Alec and Enes in the offseason if they desire.
WILL THIS CONTRACT EVER GET THE JAZZ IN MONEY PROBLEMS?
The first time it could be an issue is when Trey Burke comes up for his extension during the 2017-18 season. A lot can take place between now and then, so basically I would say no.
This is hard to project, but while Hayward is overpaid at $15 and $16 million a year in the first two years of the deal, by the time the new TV contract kicks in, his final two years may turn out to be the equivalent of $12 million deals.
DOESN’T SIGNING A PLAYER FOR MORE THAN HE IS WORTH HURT THE JAZZ?
It’s hard to say this is more than he’s worth when the market dictates his value. However, I understand the concept of the question. In a lot of circumstances the answer is yes. However, in this case probably not. The Jazz aren’t expected to win many more games next year from what they did last year. The rebuild is still in its infant stages and is going to take some time before the big steps are taken. Therefore, over the next two years, “overpaying” Hayward while Exum, Kanter, Burke, Burks and the crew continue to develop their games under Quin Snyder is unlikely to hurt the franchise.
DOES THIS IMPACT UTAH’S ABILITY TO SIGN EXTENSIONS FOR ALEC BURKS AND ENES KANTER?
This is where I think the impact will be felt. If you were Alec Burks and Enes Kanter and just saw Gordon Hayward get a max contract after his season last year, would you sign an extension or would you want to go to the open market? Both of these players are going to assume they’ll be met with the same love as Gordon Hayward in the marketplace, and this will make it very difficult for the Jazz to be able to sign either of them to extensions this offseason.
WHEN WILL THE JAZZ MATCH THE CONTRACT?
The Jazz will wait the entire 72 hours before matching the contract for two reasons. First, the Jazz aren’t going to do the Hornets any favors by releasing their obligation to this money by matching it early. Secondly, the Jazz will have an extra $6 million they can spend in those 72 hours. Gordon Hayward’s current cap hold is about $8 million. Once the Jazz match, he will take up $14.7 million off the cap. Therefore, during those 72 hours, the Jazz could sign a player with that $6 million. After signing, Hayward the Jazz will still have about $8 million (and as much as $11 million) in cap space.
HAS CHARLOTTE DONE ANYTHING TO MAKE THE CONTRACT UNAPPEALING TO THE JAZZ?
It sounds, though not confirmed, that the Hornets have placed a trade kicker and a player option in the deal. The player option would be for the last year, which is the first time the Jazz may have some financial issues with Trey also due for his extension. The trade kicker is complicated, but the easiest way to think of it is that it will make it harder for the Jazz to trade Hayward in the fourth year of his contract (a year he may be able to opt out of anyway).
If Hayward is worth more than the $16.7 million on his final year and wants to opt out of his contract, the Jazz should be pleased he has improved that much as a player.
WILL GORDON HAYWARD BECOME A BETTER PLAYER NOW THAT HE HAS A MAX CONTRACT?
This is going to be the hardest part of this situation. Gordon is not going to change as a player. He may have more success in Quin Snyder’s open-floor, pick-and-roll-heavy, spread offense than in the post-centric offense of Sloan and Corbin. Gordon is an elite open-floor player. If the Jazz can get him more opportunities in space, then he will look better. However, he is not going to change as a player and he is probably not going to be what you perceive a max player to be.
WHY DIDN’T THE JAZZ GET A DEAL DONE BEFORE THIS OFFER SHEET?
A little bit because the Hayward camp wanted to get a max offer and that was their goal. It was important for them that Hayward was regarded as a max player. The Jazz opened up this portion of the negotiations with an effort to get a deal done, but the Hayward camp wanted to see what the market would deliver. Good on them. In the first portion of the negotiation (prior to the start of last season) the Jazz may look back and wish they had offered more and given more to get a deal done rather than paying the max contract now.
Today the Utah Jazz acquired Steve Novak (along with a future 2nd round pick) from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Diante Garrett.
* First thing is that Diante Garrett had little place on this team after the drafting of Danté Exum. Garrett had a nice year last season and proved he is an NBA player, but with Exum and Burke the Jazz don’t have a spot for him on the roster. His non-guaranteed contract was appealing to Toronto, which is likely to cut Garrett.
* The Jazz need shooting. Novak brings a true stretch four to the roster. Novak is 6-foot-10 and 235 pounds, and he can flat out shoot it. Over the last four seasons, the 31-year-old has shot 56.5%, 47% 43% and 43% from 3-point range. The last three season he is a combined is 334-for-755 (44%) from three.
* Novak is a one-dimensional player; he is not a rebounder or a passer—he is a shooter. However, over the last three seasons his teams are +454 when he is on the floor.
* On spot-up 3s last year, he was 39-for-87 (45%). 65% of his offense was on spot-ups.
* On catch-and-shoots last year, Novak shot 47% and 46% on 3s for an EFG% of 69.2%, second best in the NBA for players who had at least 100 catch-and-shoot points. Only Kyle Korver was better.
* Novak is not thought of as a defensive player, yet the numbers don’t show him being exposed when used correctly. He struggles covering post-ups, as teams shot 61% against him. But against other stretch 4s he did a decent job in isolation on the pick-and-roll according to Synergy Sports.
* The Raptors were +6.5 per 48 minutes when Steve Novak was on the floor and +2.7 when he was on the bench. The Raptors’ offense with Novak on floor was at 106.3 when was on the bench was a 105.8. However, when he was on the floor the defense was not as good.
* He is not capable of being a starter even in the case of injury, so this doesn’t close the door on Marvin Williams and doesn’t close the door on the Jazz making frontcourt moves. The Jazz need some insurance in case Favors or Kanter misses anytime due to injury. As the roster sits right now, they don’t have a player who can start in place of either of these players.
* If this move should put anyone’s roster spot in jeopardy I don’t think it does a lot for Jeremy Evans. If Favors, Kanter, Gobert, Novak and another free agent addition are your frontcourt, where does Evans fit?
This is STORYLINE post. I will continually update this post with news about free agency and the impact on the Jazz. Lock this page onto your browser for the latest news
UPDATED – July 3rd 1:41 pm
The Atlanta Hawks have signed Thabo Sefolsha to a 3 year deal. The Hawks are in need of wing help starting Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll last year. Atlanta has lots of money and is expected to make a big move. I have thought of Atlanta as a possible suitor for Gordon Hayward. Not clear how this impacts that situation.
Hawks have 11 million in cap space left. The Jazz would obviously match an 11 million dollar contract so Atlanta will not offer.
Also, Jazz might have interest in Mike Scott who is a restricted free agent with the Hawks.
UPDATED – July 2nd 8:55am
As of last night Gordon Hayward didn’t have a max offer sheet from anyone. However, numerous teams still are in the mix for Hayward. Cleveland is the primary player. However, other bidders could include Charlotte and Atlanta.
Phoenix is a common name to be mentioned with the tie to Hornacek, however when you look at the Suns landscape for the next few years I am not sure it makes a lot of sense. The Suns want to sign Bledsoe this year, Dragic is an unrestricted free agent next year and the Morris twins come up as well. A major offer sheet to Hayward could upset that apple cart.
UPDATED – July 2nd 8:45 am
The Shawn Livingston deal in Golden State means the Warriors have used their full mid level exception taking them out of the market for other major free agents. Look for Spencer Hawes to turn his attention to Portland now that Golden State is of the market
UPDATED – July 2nd 7:51 am
Boston has agreed to a 4 year 32 million dollar deal with Avery Bradley. Boston has virtually no cap space at this point and would make it very difficult for them to enter into Gordon Hayward sweepstakes.
For Boston to get involved they would have to move all the players needed to create room and then give Hayward an offer sheet that the Jazz would likely match and Boston would be without the players they dump to make the offer sheet.
Unless something very strange happens take Boston off the list of suitors for Hayward
UPDATED - July 1st 5:39 pm
The two teams mentioned the most with Gordon Hayward today have been the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics.
The Cavaliers just finalized their deal with Kyrie Irving and are now looking for the next targer. The Cavs are not in play for the main targets so Hayward might be a nice addition.
Will be interesting to see if Hayward is willing to take an offer sheet from Cleveland, a place I don’t think he wants to live.
Boston currently doesn’t have a lot of cap room, only 6 million and have to deal with Avery Bradley. This is not a surprise to hear the Celtics connected to Gordon Hayward.
UPDATED – July 1st 5:36 pm
Spencer Hawes is a hot commodity. He has already met with the Blazers, Warriors and Clippers. Warriors have a trade exception that expires shortly that could be used in a deal.
Hawes shot 42% from three last year between Philadelphia and Cleveland.
UPDATED – July 1st 4:33pm
Jodie Meeks has signed a 3 year – 19 million dollar deal with the Detroit Pistons. This is a lot of money for a fringe starter likely 7th man on a roster. However, Meeks can shoot.
I had Meeks and Morrow as veteran guards for the Jazz in free agency. Meeks is now off the market.
Jazz can’t afford to make a move with their cap space yet until they see both what happens with the big boys and what deals they might be able to absorb or what actually happens with Gordon Hayward.
UPDATED – July 1st 10:01 am
Hawks are being mentioned with Greg Monroe. Monroe is a restricted free agent. If the Hawks are looking at Monroe it would delay there action toward Gordan Hayward. It would also bring up a question of what they are doing with both Al Horford and Paul Millsap. Jazz could be interested in Horford as a piece
UPDATED – June 30th - 11:07 pm
Blazers seem to be setting the pace on the shooting big market and have reached out to Spencer Hawes, Josh McRoberts and Boris Diaw. Blazers are over the cap so they can only offer the mid-level.
UPDATED – June 30th – 11:04 pm
Atlanta Hawks amongst teams that are talking to Luol Deng. Atlanta could be a player for Gordon Hayward
UPDATED – June 30th – 11:01 pm
Is Trevor Booker a shooting 4 for the Jazz
My initial list of shooting pigs for the Jazz was Spencer Hawes, Josh McRoberts, Patrick Patterson with Mike Scott, a restricted free agent from Atlanta. Add Trevor Booker to this list.
UPDATED – June 30th – 10:58 pm
Lots of impact here.
If Boston goes down the Thomas restricted free agent road then they can’t also be on the road to Gordon Hayward.
Boston actually only has 6 million in cap space right now and would have to move contracts to make Hayward a big offer.
If the Celtics just drafted Smart and are talking to Thomas what are they doing with Rajon Rondo.
UPDATED – June 30th – 10:54 pm
Spencer Hawes, who could fill the Jazz need for a shooting big, is getting a lot of early interest. Hawes is hearing from Western Conference contenders according to Marc Stein, Portland, Clippers, Rockets and Mavericks.
Mavericks and Rockets have cap room to spend the other teams would only be able to go full mid-level. Would the Jazz be willing to go above mid-level to get Spencer Hawes? How would that impact the development of Kanter and Gobert?
UPDATED June 30th – 10:52 pm
Carmelo will be meeting with the Lakers on Thursday after seeing the Bulls on Tuesday according to ESPN. Melo will spend Wednesday in Texas with Dallas and Houston.
UPDATED June 30th – 10:41 pm
Carmelo will meet with Bulls on Tuesday. Jazz need to follow this one closely the Bulls would need to move contracts to get Carmelo done and the Jazz, Sixers and Magic are the only team likely to be able to facility such action.
Would the Jazz take Boozer and Dunleavy (maybe even Hinrich) for Nikola Mirotic and a 2018 1st rounder? Would Bulls do it. Mirotic is a big time Europen player a shooting big who, according to scouts could start today in the NBA.
Mirotic is 23