The Cleveland Cavaliers have a ton of cap space and a lot of moving parts to make even more cap space. Unfortunately so do many other teams, and we have seen that cap space used in surprising fashion on players. The Cavs reportedly have been meeting with Gordon Hayward in Cleveland and are expected to make a max level offer to him:
My man @WindhorstESPN reporting Cavs believed to be preparing max offer sheet to RFA Gordon Hayward. ESPN reported Cavs' interest yesterday
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 2, 2014
A max level offer for Hayward, coming off his rookie contract, is reportedly 4 years and around $63 million. Hayward is a restricted free agent so the Utah Jazz can always match the Cavs offer. If Hayward agrees he can’t sign the offer sheet until July 10th and the Jazz will have until the 13th to decide to match or not. The two teams could also work out trade for Hayward at that point as well. Many expect the Jazz to match but a max deal might be difficult.
Hayward would be a unique fit with the Cavs after drafting Andrew Wiggins. Given that David Griffin noted that Wiggins long term spot would be as a 2 guard, Hayward would slide in next to him. Hayward stands 6’8″ and is highly athletic and skilled as a small forward. With the Jazz he was asked to create more then he would with the Cavaliers which caused more problems last year. With the Cavs Kyrie Irving will do much of the creating, allowing Hayward to catch and shoot or slash as teams move with Irving.
His shooting dipped dramatically last year but he is considered a really good 3 point shooter with a solid mid range game. He is able to finish at the rim with proclivity as well. With the Cavs he would be the 3rd best player in about 2 years, behind Irving and Wiggins, and put a lot of the Cavs resources in the backcourt and wings. The Cavs wouldn’t have the cap space immediately to sign any high quality big man depth but have enough move-able parts that they could acquire cap space quickly.
Signing Hayward, and not having the Jazz match, does not end the pursuit of LeBron James but it does limit it. With their size, length and quickness Wiggins, Hayward and James could easily start along side Irving and a big man in a great starting 5. The Cavs would still have a number of resources that they could also move for Kevin Love or another star player via trade. Love would slot in perfectly in a David Blatt system, but the Cavs would need to find a solid defender at the 5 position.
What do you think of Hayward’s fit with the Cavs?