The Utah Jazz are now heading into the next chapter of the franchise’s history: Life without Gordon Hayward. Although the All-Star small forward ultimately elected to sign with the Boston Celtics during free agency, the Jazz still believe they will remain competitive going forward.
Despite losing a star player in Hayward, Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey says that the franchise will not encounter a rebuilding phase anytime in the near future.
“We feel like we can build defensively around Rudy Gobert,” Lindsey recently told The Salt Lake Tribune. “We look at him, and he’s a top 10 player and unique defender. So we wanted to build a team around his talents.”
Gobert, who was outspoken in his criticism of the aforementioned Hayward, has not lost any faith in his teammates either.
“People are going to be surprised by how we do this year,” Gobert said. “We just have to keep getting better.”
After Hayward departed, the Jazz added fellow forwards Thabo Sefolosha, Jonas Jerebko and Ekpe Udoh in addition to acquiring veteran point guard Ricky Rubio via trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“We just felt like we had too much talent to tear it down to the foundation,” Lindsey added. “The main thing with [head coach] Quin [Snyder] and Rudy is what do we stand for? We feel like we have a great player in Rudy, and we want to showcase his ability.”