When Utah Jazz star Gordon Hayward left the court after his team was swept during Round 2, he offered a peace sign to fans in Salt Lake City.
Hayward, an upcoming free agent, shined for the Jazz during the playoffs. With the exception of the game in which Hayward had food poisoning, he finished the playoffs with 26.2 points per game as well as 6.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He also shot 44.3 percent from the field and 41.5 percent from 3-point range.
ESPN’s Marc J. Spears reported Salt Lake City will soon have a billboard to convince Hayward to not leave during free agency.
Hayward was drafted by the Jazz in June 2010, which makes him one of the longest-tenured players by his franchise in the NBA.
While he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2018, his base salary would be $16.7 million with the Jazz next season.
He could opt out of his contract with Jazz, which is worth $16.7 million per season. A new contract with Utah would be a max deal worth $180 million over five years.
But if Hayward leaves Utah, he would make $130 million over four seasons.
It’s worth noting if he makes an All-NBA team, things can get more complicated — but would make him more likely to stay in Salt Lake City.
With some creative cap maneuvering, he could opt into the last year of his contract and then be eligible he could make $220 million over five seasons from Utah exclusively due to the designated player extension.
George Hill, who is also an upcoming free agent, explained his own contract decision will hinge on where Hayward ends up. Regardless of whether or not the billboard or pitches from teammates would work, the Utah fan base certainly doesn’t want Hayward to go.
Below is a video of fans in Utah who were chanting for Hayward to stay for a new contract with the Jazz.