Former Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward is expected to be one of the hottest targets for teams in 2017 NBA free agency. While the Jazz remain in contention to re-sign Hayward, it seems that his potential future team is still very much up in the air.
Recently, the odds have been released by Bovada on where Hayward will land, and the current favorite is actually pretty surprising, mainly because it’s not the Jazz. Here’s a look at the updated odds on where Hayward will sign during free agency, which begins on July 1 at 12:01 a.m. EDT.
Gordon Hayward’s Free Agency Odds
- Boston Celtics: -115
- Utah Jazz: +150
- Miami Heat: +270
There is no option to bet the field here, but there are a few interesting factors when looking at these odds. After being drafted by the Jazz with the No. 9 pick in the 2010 draft and spending the first seven years of his career with the team, Utah was expected to be the odds-on favorite. But, there’s that intriguing future that Hayward has with current Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
Hayward played for Stevens with the Butler Bulldogs, and the two helped the team stage an improbable run to the NCAA championship. For anyone who doesn’t remember that incredible finish, it was a heave from Hayward that just missed, which resulted in the Bulldogs falling short against the Duke Blue Devils.
Hayward’s past with Stevens goes a long way toward explaining why the Celtics are the current favorites to land the highly sought-after free agent. But looking even further than that, it may be the Heat who could have an edge that’s going very overlooked heading into the start of free agency.
According to Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald, the Heat are set to be the first team to meet with Hayward once free agency begins. Navarro references last summer when Miami was the last of six teams to meet with Kevin Durant. It’s also worth noting that giving Pat Riley the chance to pitch his team first could certainly provide them with an edge, as he was the man who convinced LeBron James and Chris Bosh to come to Miami and team up with Dwyane Wade back in 2010.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, and it seems unlikely that Hayward, who had a career year in 2016 averaging 21.9 points and 5.4 rebounds will remain on the market for long. And for many Butler fans out there, the idea of seeing Hayward and Stevens paired up again could likely result in the Celtics adding a few new fans of their own.