The Miami Heat are expected to meet with free agent forward Gordon Hayward at the start of free agency, as first reported by Yahoo! Hayward opted out of his 2017-18 player option with the Utah Jazz and is now an unrestricted free agent. He seems to be the Heat’s No. 1 priority once free agency starts up.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Hayward will first meet with the Heat on Saturday and then with the Jazz on Monday. He will also meet with the Boston Celtics on Sunday, according to ESPN’s Jorge Sedano. Those three teams are on his shortlist and he is expected to make his decision soon after his meetings.
Last season with the Utah Jazz, Hayward averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game on 47.1 percent shooting from the field. On the defensive end, Hayward averaged 1.0 steals and 0.3 blocks per game. He posted the highest player efficiency rating of his career in 2016-17, with a 22.2 clip.
The 27-year-old guard out of Butler University will most likely command a max contract. The Heat currently have a ton of cap room and the space to sign Hayward to a max contract. At this point in the process it seems to be between the Celtics and the Heat.
If the Heat are unable to secure Hayward or former Clippers forward Blake Griffin, it looks like the team will make a move back to re-signing Dion Waiters. If the Heat are able to sign either Hayward or Blake Griffin to max deals, they would still be left with approximately $5 million in cap space. That would be assuming they don’t bring back Waiters, Wayne Ellington, or James Johnson. But theoretically, it looks like the Heat can not only sign Hayward or Griffin but also possibly re-sign one of those three guys back.
Another backup option for the team, assuming Griffin doesn't sign with the Heat is former Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap. Millsap is also an unrestricted free agent and will most likely demand a huge contract but could create quite the defensive duo with Hassan Whiteside.
With free agency beginning on Saturday, it will be interesting to see if the Heat can pull off getting Hayward. But as of right now, the chances look promising considering he is visiting the team on the first day of free agency.