For those of you unfamiliar with Hayward, he was drafted 9th overall (out of Butler) in the 2010 NBA draft by the Jazz. He is 6'8" and 207 pounds, generally playing the 2/3 role. As for his statistics you can check them out below:
28.4 MP | 12 PTS | 2.7 REB | 3.1 AST | .436 FG% | .365 3PT% |
36.4 MP | 16.2 PTS | 5.1 REB | 5.2 AST | .413 FG% | .304 3PT%|
I'll tell you why.
Hayward was stuck on one of the absolute worst rosters in the NBA for the entirety of his career, and has been forced to be the centerpiece of the Jazz. His main supporting cast? Derrick Favors, a decent big man who is somewhat over-hyped, Jeremy Evans, a second round pick that plays almost exclusively under the basket, and Alec Burks, who only showed potential last year. The average age of these four pieces is about 24. (I didn't mention Enes Kanter who has been somewhat disappointing, but that rounds out a starting lineup that is entirely below 26 years old).
It's my belief that the improvements that Hayward showed early on in his career were hindered last year by having three post-dominant players as his main supporting cast while he is stuck on the wing trying to create offense. Not to mention that the starting point guard was only a rookie (Trey Burke). Furthermore, Hayward is not designed to be a number one option. He's a complementary player that can fill the outside shooting role, and has the ability to drive and pass very well.
Now this is a bit of a gamble that the Cavs are playing here, assuming that Hayward will return to the form he had in '12-'13, but it's one worth taking. Hayward will bring an offensive game that will complement Wiggins incredibly well with a much better mid-range jumper (averaged 39.3% shooting from just inside the arc). His passing will also allow him to take more of a "Manu Ginobili" role in Blatt's offense. But the biggest benefit isn't just having him on the team. It's the fact that he will most likely be brought in through a sign-and-trade deal (the Jazz won't want to give him up for nothing) which allows the Cavs to still have over $10M in cap space following this deal (if it goes through). Most likely, though, this would mean trading something along the lines of Dion Waiters and/or Anderson Varejao.
Trading Dion may be an unpopular move, but there should be no argument that Hayward will fit better next to Kyrie, who the Cavs have deemed their centerpiece given his recent extension. Furthermore, Dion is just a year away from extension talks which, given this market, may see him demand the same kind of extension. The ability to make this team fit and achieve win now status shouldn't be overlooked. The Hayward signing would accomplish that.
One last comment on the potential signing. Many around the NBA consider Hayward to be a potential All-star player, which means that the max deal isn't necessarily absurd, not to mention he's only 24 years old. But this deal also puts the Cavs in a great position to trade next year for a max player (hint: LeBron James). Hayward's contract, which would be around $15M next year, plus the expiring Haywood contract, a non-guaranteed $10M, would be a great consolation prize for the Heat, assuming LeBron gets a 2-year deal with an opt-out after the first year.
Keep all these things in mind as we're watching this story develop. Could be a great move for the Cavs.