The Utah Jazz were primed to make the leap this year. Gordon Hayward had come into his own as a primary scoring option flanked by Derrick Favors’ brute inside scoring and feathery mid-range touch. Their defense was to be anchored by the towering Rudy Gobert providing potent rim protection. The triumvirate of Dante Exum, Trey Burke and Alec Burks were to provide a healthy mix of complementary skill sets at the guard position.
But injuries have ravaged this Jazz team like the plague. Dante Exum is out for the year, Rudy Gobert has missed extended time with a knee injury and Alec Burks has missed time, as well. Hayward has stayed healthy enough to buoy the Jazz to a 17-21 record without their complementary pieces. But a former Jazz player think he needs to be traded. Raja Bell expressed his feelings about Hayward and the Jazz organization as a whole on a CBS Sports segment:
“They’ll never get rid of Gordon Hayward,” Bell said of the Jazz. “But for his sake, I would hope that they’d let him go and see what it’s like to play in other places in the NBA where they do things a little more professionally and are up with the times.”
Bell added with a laugh, “Forgive me, Utah.”
Bell has a surly history with the Jazz organization after spending the 2011 and 2012 seasons with the team. The Jazz actually paid Bell to stay at home for the 2013 season. There’s clearly no love lost between the two. Hayward did sign an offer sheet with the Charlotte Hornets during the 2014 offseason, but the Jazz matched his contract. It doesn’t sound like they plan to get rid of Hayward anytime soon.