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Gordon Hayward: 'I have nothing but love for everybody in Utah'

SALT LAKE CITY — There’s no doubt the biggest question surrounding the Utah Jazz this summer concerns All-Star forward Gordon Hayward’s future as a member of the team.

Hayward has a player option in his contract, which in simplest terms gives him the choice of whether or not he wants to return to the Jazz or go somewhere else.

At the team’s end-of-season media session on Tuesday, Hayward said he hasn’t yet given a whole lot of thought to his future.

“It’s hard to think about right now just because of the season we’ve had and everything that we’ve gone through,” he said. “Today it still feels like we’re looking toward the next game, looking toward the next opponent. It’s obviously over, but it’s hard to just shut that off right away and think about what will happen next."That’s why you hire an agent, to deal with this type of stuff. I’m sure he’s going to go through all the options for me, let me know what can happen. I think there’s a lot of stuff that could definitely go down, and so once I sit down and talk with him, we’ll move forward from there.”

The seven-year pro did reflect on his career to this point since he was selected with the ninth pick in the 2010 draft.

“It’s been so much fun for me here in Utah and growing up here, starting a family, growing from a basketball standpoint, growing from just a man standpoint,” he said. “I have nothing but love for everybody in Utah.”

Recalling “dark times” such as the team’s 25-win season in 2013, Hayward said he is proud of the progress the Jazz have made.

“That was not very fun, and thinking about the fun we had this year even through all setbacks, through the injuries, through the adversity we had, to make the playoffs and win the first round, win a Game 7 at an opposing team’s arena in front of their fans, that’s something you really can enjoy with your teammates and coaches and all the staff,” he said. “It’s something that will definitely go with me moving forward, and we’ll see what happens.”

After averaging 22 points, five rebounds and four assists per game on the season, Hayward said he feels he still has room to improve.

“I definitely plan on working just as hard, if not harder (this summer), because once you get a taste of the playoffs and a little success like that, it makes you want to work even harder and go further,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this summer and looking forward to getting better as a player and coming back next year ready to go.”