Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SALT LAKE CITY — Just like the team’s first playoff appearance in five years, the Utah Jazz’s offseason has been an emotional roller coaster.
From the excitement of draft night to the disappointment and pain of Gordon Hayward’s “indecision,” Jazz fans have put their emotions through the ringer over the past month.
“Certainly we will miss Gordon and his many contributions to our young team,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said in a statement. “But I always tell our players that ‘adversity is opportunity in disguise.’ This is one of those moments and we need to live those words. We have a roster of young, talented and resilient players. I am confident that together, we will accept this challenge while continuing to strive toward our goal of individual and collective improvement.”
Now with a full 15-man roster, the Utah Jazz may as well call themselves the United Nations, boasting players from Australia, Brazil, France, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
The movement wasn’t just about Hayward’s move to Boston. It started on draft night, when general manager Dennis Lindsey pulled off a stunner. The savvy vet sent Trey Lyles and the No. 24 overall pick to Denver in exchange for the Nuggets’ No. 13 pick that became Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell.
The night also netted North Carolina center Tony Bradley and Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, who have both seen plenty of action during the summer league.
Lindsey pulled off another stunner June 30, when he acquired Ricky Rubio from Minnesota in a move designed to free up cap space for the Timberwolves.
The Jazz then locked up Australian shooter Joe Ingles with a four-year, $25 million deal, and the plan was all coming together to retain Hayward’s services — they just needed the former Butler star’s signature.
Instead, they got indecision. Hayward flew to Miami and Boston and set up what we later learned was an “awkward” meeting with the Jazz in San Diego before delaying his decision prior to making the announcement with a blog post on The Players’ Tribune.
“I think the meeting was cool. We went there, went to his house, talked with him a little bit,” Jazz center Rudy Gobert later said. “But it was a little awkward. I was kind of sensing that it was a little awkward. We have no regrets and we did everything we could have done.”
Hayward broke hearts, chose Boston and took a blowtorch to his seven-year legacy in Utah. Gail Miller is still waiting for that call, too.
“The last seven years playing for the Jazz was something that I’ll never forget. I want to thank them for everything they gave me,” Hayward told the New England media Friday. “There was just something different about Boston, different about being a Celtic, a different feeling about being a Boston Celtic, that won me over.”
While fans dealt with the grief of watching an All-Star walk away with nothing in return, there was a small roster exodus as well.
George Hill signed a three-year, $57 million contract with Sacramento. Shelvin Mack went to Orlando on a two-year, $12 million package. Utah also said farewell to Boris Diaw, a fan favorite during his lone season with the Jazz, both for his rebounding and his frequent trips to the state’s national parks.
The Jazz had some roster spots to fill — and they did it all within 24 hours.
Elite wing defender Thabo Sefolosha, a 33-year-old with 11 years of NBA experience that included 92 games in the playoffs, arrived first. The team then replaced Hayward’s fresh haircut with Swedish national Jonas Jerebko from Boston, who also has a fondness for video games and e-sports.
Utah went all the way to Turkey to make its final roster addition. In the middle of the night, news broke that the Jazz had added one-time lottery pick Epke Udoh, a Euroleague star who was the Final Four MVP during his time at Baylor.
With the roster at 15 players, the Jazz are done for the summer.
But there’s still time on the clock; maybe Dennis Lindsey has one more surprise left for us to cap a busy offseason.