CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Hornets general manager Rich Cho said the team has extended an offer sheet to free agent Gordon Hayward.
The deal signed Thursday would pay the small forward $63 million over the next four years. The Jazz have until 11:59 p.m. Sunday to match the offer and retain Hayward.
With the offer sheet in place, the sign and trade possibility with the Jazz is no longer an option.
The 6-foot-8 Hayward averaged career highs of 16.2 points, 5.2 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals last season while leading his team in scoring and minutes played.
The ninth overall pick in the 2010 draft, Hayward has played all four seasons in Utah scoring in double figures 63 times with nine double-doubles while averaging 12 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists.
Hornets coach Steve Clifford said he’s hopeful the Jazz won’t match the offer.
“I feel like we’ve done everything that we can do,” Clifford said. “We hope that they don’t match. If they don’t, we’ve significantly improved our wing positions.”
Clifford said Hayward has “size, skill, competitiveness” and could play small forward or shooting guard in Charlotte.
“He’s 24 years old and he has the talent, the character and the work ethic to be an All-Star player,” Clifford said.
Clifford said the Hornets have other plans if they can’t land Hayward, but wouldn’t discuss them.