Gordon Hayward hosts Jazz in San Diego Monday for his last free-agent pitch

The free-agent frenzy has slowed after the first day of when nearly $1 billion in contracts were handed out. Like other star players in previous years, the hold-up is an All-Star still pondering his next move.

That player is Brownsburg native Gordon Hayward, who became an unrestricted free agent one year earlier than Paul George, for example, because the Jazz matched the Charlotte Hornets’ offer to Hayward back in 2014. Utah did not pony up for a max contract then, and instead paid him $63 million over four years. Otherwise he would be in a Jazz uniform for at least one more season.

As reported here last week, Hayward first met with Heat officials in Miami on Saturday, the first day of free agency. He spent most of Sunday in Boston, and then jetted back west to his offseason home, San Diego, before hearing the Jazz’s pitch.

Hayward moved his personal basketball trainer, Jason Smeathers, out west to train during the offseason.

Gordon’s wife, Robyn, who’s also from Central Indiana (Bishop Chatard High School), joined him on the visits.

Winning and playing with guys who are committed to success are serious priorities for Hayward, as is playing alongside a quality point guard. He would have liked to play beside Broad Ripple High School and IUPUI product George Hill for another season, but the Jazz got ahead in free agency and traded for Ricky Rubio, who’s under contract for $30 million over the next two years.

Hill has battled a left big toe sprain, and missed 33 regular-season games last season.

See Also: Gordon Hayward on Indy West, success with George Hill, and visiting Hinkle

With so many All-Stars moving to the Western Conference, like Paul George (Oklahoma City), Jimmy Butler (Minnesota), and Paul Millsap (Denver), Hayward could come to the Eastern Conference and be an All-Star for the next decade. Also, he knows he would have to go through LeBron James — at least for one more season — to get to his first NBA Finals. James has played in seven straight finals.

A decision is expected before the fireworks on Tuesday — July 4th. And he’ll likely make the announcement himself.

Hayward, who turned 27 in late March, is coming off his best season as a pro. He averaged 21.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, both career highs, and 3.5 assists. He’s a reliable forward, absent for 17 games total over the last three seasons.

[Photo: @robynmhayward]

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