The Utah Jazz first-round victory over the Los Angeles Clippers might have helped them win the upcoming free-agency war for All-Star forward Gordon Hayward. According to USA Today Sports NBA writer Sam Amick, the Jazz has already proven itself to Hayward as a team that will contend for the NBA championship in the next 2-3 years.

The first-round win locks Hayward, Hill for Good?

Hayward, who can opt out of the final year of his deal worth $16.7 million, is considered one of the top-tier free agents along with Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant this summer.

Amick believes the Jazz remains the no.1 destination for Hayward, especially after reaching the second round of the Western Conference playoffs for the first time in 7 years.

“Now that the Jazz has advanced to the second round for the first time since 2010, Amick believes Hayward is convinced that the Jazz can build a contender and wishes to stick around to help make that happen,” Amick speculates via Hoops Rumors.

Before Utah’s playoff win over the Clippers, there were whispers that Hayward could look for a contender this summer. The Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, and cap-rich Philadelphia 76ers are some of the teams being mentioned as potential suitors, but the Boston Celtics emerge as the strongest of the group because of the presence of C’s head coach Brad Stevens, who coached the All-Star during their time at Butler.

Apart from Hayward, Jazz’s ongoing campaign this postseason has also left a strong impression for point guard George Hill.

Hill, who averaged 16.9 points and 4.2 assists during the regular-season, will be an unrestricted free-agent this offseason and he could command a contract no lesser than $17MM per year on the open market.

Hill considers Jazz a team capable of winning a championship down the road because of its promising young players and the battle-tested coaching staff led by Quin Snyder.

The New York Knicks have reportedly been gunning for the service of the two-way guard, as Phil Jackson likes Hill’s ability to facilitate the offense and become an on-ball pest on the other end of the floor.

Game 1 vs. Golden State Warriors

Hayward had a subpar output in Game 1 of the Western Conference semis series against the Golden State Warriors.

The All-Star scored just 12 points on 4-for-15 shooting, while Rudy Gobert tallied 13 points and eight rebounds in a 106-94 loss to the defending West champs. Overall, the Jazz just shot 46 percent from the field and a cold 31 percent from the three-point line. Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green combined for 71 points to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Game 2 will be on Friday at Oracle Arena.

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