NBA Free Agents 2017: Miami Heat Beating Boston Celtics in Gordon Hayward Sweepstakes?

By Nikko Villanueva, Posted: 06/13/17 06:26AM EDT

One of the hottest names in this year's list of NBA free agents is Gordon Hayward. The Boston Celtics are considered the biggest threats to the Utah Jazz when it comes to signing him. However, the Miami Heat are closing in and they might be winning the Hayward sweepstakes at this point. 

It is too early to say where Hayward will end up this offseason. Utah remains a top destination for him, especially after what the team achieved in its previous campaign. The Jazz made a return to the NBA Playoffs and reached as far as the second round. 

Despite last season's success, Hayward could leave and pull a Kevin Durant. He might join a super team to make it a title contender. Boston is one of the places to be if this is his goal. The Celtics are still seeking for an impact player that would help them return to the championship pedestal. There are those who believe the 27-year-old forward is the guy that will end the search. 

This is why Boston is viewed as a potential landing spot for Hayward. In Beantown, he will play alongside Celtics stars Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, Avery Bradley, and Marcus Smart. This unit may give the Cleveland Cavaliers the toughest challenge in the Eastern Conference. 

Unfortunately for Boston, it should be alert since Miami is coming. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Hayward recently included the Heat in his options. 

"An associate of Hayward said several weeks ago that he hadn't heard Miami was particularly on Hayward's radar and viewed Boston as the next-best option if he left Utah, which obviously wants to keep him. But a source connected with Hayward said this morning that Hayward now has interest in the Heat, as well as other teams," Jackson wrote. 

For some, Miami acquiring Hayward is far-fetched, but it might have a legitimate chance. Last season, the Heat had a terrible start but turned things around and almost made it to the NBA Playoffs. They did that without a true star player. This is something that may impress the soon-to-be free agent and lead to him choosing South Beach. 

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