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NBA Rumors: Plan B Time for the Hornets?

The Hornets should start readying their Plan B as it looks like Gordon Hayward is going to remain a Jazz.. Lakers staying in contact with Carmelo and his camp… Mario Chalmers being signed-and-traded?

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Jazz poised to match Hornets offer sheet for Gordon Hayward

Restricted free agent Gordon Hayward has agreed to a four-year, $63 million maximum contract offer sheet with the Charlotte Hornets, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

A player option for the fourth year of the deal and a 15 percent trade kicker are expected to be included in the offer sheet, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Both would be considered incentives to dissuade the Jazz from matching the sheet, but Utah officials have remained adamant they will match any sheet for Hayward – including a max offer.

via Adrian Wojnarowksi of Yahoo! Sports

Shortly after this news broke, our Nate Duncan broke down the Jazz’s vantage point on the Hayward offer in depth to help you understand why they have been so adamant on matching any offer he receives.

The biggest benefit for a team having a restricted free agent is being able to ultimately decide whether they want to agree to the terms, though. It wouldn’t make any sense for the Jazz to come out and say that there are offers they wouldn’t match. Not only would it likely have a negative impact on their relationship with Hayward if it continued, it would also set the price for the teams trying to sign him away – although in this case the Hornets were high enough on Hayward to offer him the max anyway.

If the Jazz are indeed telling the Hornets that they plan to match despite the player-friendly nature of the offer, expect the Hornets to try to back them off of that stance with sign-and-trade offers. As Duncan mentioned, they have Cody Zeller, Noah Vonleh and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to entice them with, along with future draft picks. The Jazz were rumored to be considering a power forward with the fifth overall pick before Dante Exum fell to them and could be intrigued by this option if they’ve really been bluffing about being willing to pay Hayward the max.

Hayward can’t sign the offer sheet until the end of the league’s moratorium period on July 10. After that, the Jazz have three days to match. However, we’ve seen instances in the past where teams pull offer sheets during a moratorium period that they know are going to get matched. It’s a favorable way to do business, especially if the Jazz truly have no intentions of letting Hayward go. Stringing the Hornets along until July 13 only to match in the end handcuffs their ability to do any other major spending. Their backup plans could be off the market at that point. If the Jazz and Hornets were division rivals, perhaps this tactic would be utilized, but that’s not the case.

Other small forward options for the Hornets to consider are Chandler Parsons, Luol Deng, Paul Pierce and Trevor Ariza. So far the Hornets have not seemed open to making a run a Lance Stephenson, who appears to be available as he does not like the Pacers’ five-year, $44 million offer, but that could change once they get clarity with Hayward.

Lakers, Kobe remain in contact with Carmelo Anthony and reps

He remained “torn” on his decision, the New York Daily News attributed to an unnamed friend of Anthony’s, and the Lakers remained very much in limbo.

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak has been in contact with Anthony’s representatives on a regular basis. Kobe Bryant has also had continual conversations with the high-scoring forward.

via Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times

Anthony was widely expected to make a decision on Monday, so the fact that we’re going into Wednesday without even knowing if a single team that met with him has been eliminated is a bit surprising.

At the end of the weekend, the Lakers reportedly made a major leap up the list of Anthony’s preferred destinations. Many have gone as far as to report that it’s between the Lakers and Knicks.

Speaking of the Knicks, they’ve been aggressive in trying to scrap their 2015 plan to instead shed contracts and add help now. Knicks president Phil Jackson has shopped the expiring contracts of Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani, using Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert as sweetners. If Jackson’s able to shed those contracts and get significantly under the cap, his top target would likely be Pau Gasol.

The Lakers are in a position where they can retain Gasol for $8-9 million a year while still being able to give Anthony a max contract. Bresnahan also reported that if Anthony committed to the Lakers, Pau would quickly do so as well. Gasol is also being courted by the Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs.

Chalmers being signed-and-traded?

via Twitter

Despite often being pegged as one of the scapegoats in Miami, the market is thin at point guard and Chalmers brings a lot to the table. He may not have had his strongest showing in the Finals, which ended in his benching for the first half of a decisive Game 5. He averaged 9.8 points and 4.9 assists a game last year and is a career .373 percent shooter from beyond the arc.

Obviously, expectations have to be limited if he’s your starter, but as a backup Chalmers holds a lot of potential. As far as potential in sign-and-trades go, though, the HEAT are unlikely to find much out there. Chalmers’ price tag should be relatively affordable, probably somewhere in the $2-4 million range. The HEAT would be lucky to get someone who could make their second unit in return given who is available at that price. Miami could package a draft pick with Chalmers, but even still it remains to be seen what they could return.

The more likely scenario is that they have to renounce his rights in order to appease the Big Three’s contract demands. That drastically reduces Chalmers’ market and leverage in negotiations.

Yannis Koutroupis is Basketball Insiders' Managing Site Editor and Senior Writer. He has been covering the NBA and NCAA for seven years.

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