Could the Jazz help Boston clear space to sign Hayward?

The idea of helping a team poach your own (former) star player sounds absurd at first.

However, when you are in the situation faced by the Utah Jazz, it actually makes a lot of sense. You see, they are losing Gordon Hayward no matter what happens, and if they choose to refuse to deal with the Boston Celtics, while it would be understandable from a spite perspective, it would be an irresponsible decision from a management perspective.

There are 28 other teams, many of whom would be thrilled to get a below-market deal on a player Boston could move with them instead. And right now, if the Celts renounced the rights to all free agents and moved on from all non-guaranteed contracts, traded Terry Rozier and Demetrius Jackson and stashed Guerschon Yabusele another season, they'd still find themselves about $300,000 dollars short of the room they need to make maximum space to sign Hayward.

Hard decisions are about to be made, and it looks like one of Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, or Avery Bradley will be headed to another team soon (for more on that, read Erik Johnson's article on the topic); the question is, will it be the Jazz or another team who will reap the rewards of Boston's bind? It seems unlikely one of those three might be headed to the Jazz simply because of the value they could return from another team, but sending a smaller deal of Rozier and Jackson to Utah would get the job done where for other teams it would not. It's easy enough to understand why it might not be palatable to facilitate losing your own (ex-) player, but the key part in this sentence is in parentheses - "ex". Hayward is gone, isn't coming back DeAndre Jordan-style, and will leave the Jazz with nothing at all if they choose the stubborn route.

Helping facilitate the deal, on the other hand, could net them a young player or two in return, giving them at least some assets back to rebuild from the loss they just experienced. It might not be the outcome they want, but if they are wise, it's the outcome they need.

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Image: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
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