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Rumor: Heat considered serious contender for Gordon Hayward

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Once believed only the Celtics, or possibly the Pacers, could pry Hayward from Utah

NBA: Playoffs-Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Marc Stein is reporting that the Utah Jazz are not only primarily concerned with Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics as suitors for free agent Gordon Hayward, but now possibly the Miami Heat.

Hayward will be one of the prime prizes in free agency this summer. But this report needs to have some more clarity. Sure, the Heat are an appealing destination because of many things — but Boston is a much more serious contender in the East and also possesses the #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft.

Hayward on the Heat would make them so much better. It would allow Miami to have a win scorer and rebounder at the SF position. It would allow Justise Winslow to move back to the bench where his defensive skills and off ball movement can make him more valuable than a scorer. And it would provide the Heat with someone who can score on their own.

Hayward would be one of the best FA options the Heat have this offseason if they can get him. However, Pat Riley did mention that whales were not likely this time around, and to focus on who they have.

But Marc Stein doesn’t report junk — this is a serious report and one that carries weight. If Riley can get in the room with Hayward on July 1, then the Heat have a chance.

Hayward holds a $16.7 million player option for 2017-18 with the Jazz, but is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent on July 1. Hayward averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 73 games this past season, shooting .471 from the field and .398 on 3-pointers.