ESPN’s Stein: Suns among those interested in Jazz’s Gordon Hayward

Jun 21, 2016, 8:49 PM | Updated: Jun 23, 2016, 10:09 am
Utah Jazz's Gordon Hayward (20) drives past Phoenix Suns' Jon Leuer, right, during the second half ...

Utah Jazz's Gordon Hayward (20) drives past Phoenix Suns' Jon Leuer, right, during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, in Phoenix. The Suns defeated the Jazz 101-85. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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The Phoenix Suns want to win now, but a stocked cupboard of assets might not be enough to take any steps in that direction.

Armed with the fourth, 13th, 28th and 34th picks in this year’s draft alone, the Suns have inquired about trading for Utah Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. The problem is that the Jazz reportedly have no interest in moving their starting small forward.

With Stein’s later report that Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe was included in the trade package, the chances of a Hayward trade look to be 0 percent after Utah acquired point guard George Hill from Indiana in a three-team deal that only cost them a No. 12 pick.

More telling — and what Stein focuses on in his report — is that the Boston Celtics have also been unable to entice Utah to begin any trade talks revolving around Hayward.

Boston, like Phoenix, has built a deep stock of draft picks and also has several young players on the current roster that would seemingly be included in a deal for a star player. But Stein reports that the Celtics haven’t made headway in trade discussions that include Hayward, the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler, or the Bucks’ Jabari Parker or Khris Middleton.

Those players fall in the spectrum of young, second-tier stars to underappreciated No. 2 or No. 3 options.

Knowing that, the ability for the Suns to make a deal for even a second-tier star seems unlikely. As discussed in our recent Empire of the Suns podcast, the Lakers and Celtics, who pick before the Suns in the draft, can offer more should a trade partner view a No. 2 or No. 3 draft choice in 2016 as an enticing chip.

In what’s considered a two-player draft, the Suns have less to offer with their No. 4 pick.

If the Celtics don’t have enough to land a player of Hayward’s caliber, it would seem unlikely Phoenix does without pulling in a third team.

As Kellan Olson noted in his list of potential young veteran targets for the Suns, Hayward would not only require a boatload of assets for the Suns to acquire him. He would also be able to opt out of his $16 million per year contract following the 2016-17 season and seek a more pricey maximum that will balloon with the increased cap space league-wide.

All this, of course, leap-frogs the assumption Utah would indeed be willing to trade Hayward.

While he is considered their best player after averaging 19.7 points, 3.7 assists and 5 rebounds per game in 2015-16, the 26-year-old might be expendable should the Jazz decide to build around the younger core of Rudy Gobert, Trey Lyles, Rodney Hood and Dante Exum.

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ESPN’s Stein: Suns among those interested in Jazz’s Gordon Hayward