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The Jazz’s competitive advantage from possessing full Bird rights transforms from a gulf to a small gap of about $5.3 million, even if he picks up that fourth-year option. That amount of money should not be scoffed at or minimized, but it is substantially smaller than the $44.55 million overall disparity, NBA Live Mobile Coins about four percent of the overall contract value for those four years and less than three percent if he opts out after the third season. (For reference, that would be a difference of about $2,000 a year for someone with a $50,000 annual salary.)
With the financial component that close, Hayward should choose his team on a wider set of factors, including team competitiveness throughout the contract, quality of life and whatever else matters to him. It is entirely possible that the Jazz represent the best combination of those considerations as well. After all, they finished with a 51-31 record despite their expected starting five only playing 14 games and 152 minutes together.That approach also put more pressure on general manager Dennis Lindsey to either retain George Hill or find a similarly capable point guard quickly because Utah missed the 2016 playoffs in no small part because of their lack of a capable player at the position. Lindsey answered by trading for Ricky Rubio, but will that be enough?
Considering Hayward has only made the postseason twice in his career, he could expect playoff appearances as a baseline for a potential suitor.That brings Utah’s other major challenge into focus: long-term expenses. Lindsey and a strong Jazz front office have done a wonderful job drafting Hayward, Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors and Rodney Hood while also adding quality veteran depth around them, but eventually those draft successes become substantially costlier (Incidentally, I wrote about this inevitability with the Jazz in October 2015).LEROUX: Reality hits NBA teams hard after last year's spending spree Paying that foursome will be challenging in and of itself, but adding capable support players around them poses a real problem as the cap stays stable over the next few seasons but their salaries rise either through new contracts or eight percent annual raises.
It is entirely possible that ownership will buy in to this core’s ability to contend, but it would come with hefty luxury tax bills starting as soon as 2018-19 and continuing until at least 2020-21 unless the league landscape changes abruptly during that time.Favors also has the right to leave as an unrestricted free agent in 2018 like Hill and Hayward do this summer. Utah has the benefit of more cost-controlled assets in the form of their own picks and an eventual first-rounder from Oklahoma City from the Enes Kanter trade, but those will be outside the lottery. Boston has similar concerns with Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley coming off incredibly team-friendly contracts in 2018, NBA Live 18 Mobile Coins but they have an armada of assets in recent draft picks and remaining selections and thus can more easily adjust while staying competitive.All of this should not be construed as an argument for Hayward to leave the Jazz or advocacy for it in any way.