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Jazz match Charlotte offer for Gordon Hayward

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The Utah Jazz matched Charlotte’s four-year, $63 million offer for restricted free agent Gordon Hayward.

Hayward’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, confirmed Utah’s move on Saturday. It was first reported by Yahoo! Sports.

“I think it’s certainly a gigantic statement of how the Jazz value Gordon,” Bartelstein said.

The Jazz had until late Sunday to match the Hornets’ offer for the 6-foot-8 small forward. The team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hayward averaged career highs of 16.2 points, 5.2 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals last season while leading the Jazz in scoring and minutes. He had seven games with double-digit rebounds and six with double-digit assists. He scored more than 20 points in 22 games.

The Jazz extended a qualifying offer to Hayward on June 26, making him a restricted free agent. Hayward also saw interest from the Cleveland Cavaliers before Charlotte’s offer came Thursday.

Hornets coach Steve Clifford praised Hayward’s “size, skill, competitiveness” and said he could play small forward or shooting guard.

“He’s 24 years old and he has the talent, the character and the work ethic to be an All-Star player,” Clifford said.

Hayward played his first three seasons in the league with center Al Jefferson, who became the focal point of Charlotte’s offense last year and earned third-team all-NBA honors.

The ninth overall pick in the 2010 draft, Hayward has played all four seasons in Utah. He has scored in double figures 63 times with nine double-doubles while averaging 12 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

AP Sports Writer Steve Reed in North Carolina contributed to this report.

Jazz match Charlotte offer for Gordon Hayward

KDWN

The Utah Jazz have matched Charlotte’s four-year, $63 million offer for restricted free agent Gordon Hayward.

Hayward’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, confirmed Utah’s move on Saturday. It was first reported by Yahoo! Sports.

The Jazz had until late Sunday to match the Hornets’ offer from Thursday for the 6-foot-8 small forward. The team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hayward averaged career highs of 16.2 points, 5.2 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals last season while leading the Jazz in scoring and minutes.

The ninth overall pick in the 2010 draft, Hayward has played all four seasons in Utah. He has scored in double figures 63 times with nine double-doubles while averaging 12 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists.