Despite finishing 25-57 this past season, the Utah Jazz have a solid foundation of young talent to grow their franchise around.
With a young roster, however, comes some struggle. The Jazz finished 29th in the NBA in scoring this season with just 95 points a contest. Hayward led the team with 16.2 points, but will be a restricted free agent himself this summer.
Here are three reasonable free agents that the Jazz could pursue.
Trevor Ariza, SF, Washington Wizards
While not a star, Ariza is a nice offensive talent who has proven he can complement a young backcourt.
This season with the Wizards, Ariza averaged 14.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 steals while starting all 77 games he played in. Washington made the jump from lottery dweller to playoff surprise, knocking off their first-round opponent Chicago Bulls in just five games.
A solid 3-point shooter, Ariza knocked down 2.3 treys per game while converting at a career-best 40.7 percent clip. He could help space the floor for Utah and would provide a nice kick-out option for players like Favors and Enes Kanter.
Evan Turner, SG/SF, Indiana Pacers
In the rare chance Utah lets Hayward walk in free agency, they could sign a very similar player to replace him in Turner.
Like Hayward, Turner can play both shooting guard and small forward. Both can handle the ball and create scoring opportunities for themselves and others.
Before being traded to the Indiana Pacers and finding himself in a reserve role, Turner was putting up 17.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Having another player capable of handling the ball would ease the pressure on Burke, who will be entering just his second pro season. Turner is technically a restricted free agent, but odds are the Pacers won’t be in any hurry to hand him a big pay day. If Utah wants to save money but get someone of Hayward’s ability, targeting Turner would be wise.
Rudy Gay, SF, Sacramento Kings
He may be overrated and currently overpaid, but Gay is an athletic scoring forward that the Jazz could definitely use.
Gay holds a player option for next season worth $19.3 million. While there’s no way he’ll earn that much annually on his next deal, the security a new long-term contract would bring may be too enticing to pass up.
As previously mentioned, Utah struggled mightily to score the ball this season. Gay averaged 20 points per game between the Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings and owns a lifetime scoring average of 18.2.
At age 27, Gay is the perfect mix of veteran and developing talent. His game still has room to grow, but his eight years of league experience would be a great influence on a young Jazz team.