After Gordon Hayward announced his departure from Salt Lake City on July 4, more than 1,000 readers responded to a voluntary Deseret News questionnaire.
(Note: The following results reflect a sampling from the survey. This story will be updated with future results.)
First off, readers were asked who they would most like to see in a Jazz uniform.
Here's how they responded:
Jazz fans were also asked how many wins they expect from Utah next year even without any significant roster moves.
Most readers who took part in the survey expect the team to get worse than its 51 wins from last year, but still stay above 41. Here's a sampling of the responses:
Utah's brass expect some of Hayward's lost production to be picked up internally.
Jazz fans were asked which player on the roster will show the most improvement next season. Here's how they responded:
As an NBA All-Star, Hayward gained considerable popularity during his time with the Jazz.
We asked readers if his departure will make them more or less likely to watch the Jazz on TV or attend games. Here's another sampling of responses:
In his blog post detailing the reasons why he left Utah, Hayward cited his desire to win a championship in Boston.
We asked readers if Hayward will accomplish his goal with the Celtics. Here's how they responded:
We also asked readers who else could realistically improve the Jazz's roster.
The following garnered the most responses:
- Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers)
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Detroit Pistons)
- Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
Jumping ship to powerhouse teams has become somewhat of a trend for NBA players. We asked readers what Hayward's move says about today's NBA. Here's another sampling of their responses: • "It's hard to say, but it seems like the rich only get richer."
• "Small-market teams are never going to be a place the NBA's stars want to play."
• "Loyalty is hard to come by in the NBA, and it's rarely showed. I know we will find those players, like (Joe) Ingles, who want to stay here. Those players are the ones we need to focus on and develop."
• "That no matter how hard smaller-market teams improve and show what they can do, the big-market teams will always have the upper hand."
• "Not much. Business as usual. Loyalties do not exist, just like the rest of the world. A person is expected to change employers three times during their career. Why should that be different for the NBA?"
Players leaving their original teams usually leave from larger markets. We asked readers what's the future for small-market teams in today's NBA. Here's how some responded.
• "There's always hope. Never lose hope. We will compete."
• "Unless additional protections are put in place to help ensure these teams are able to retain their stars (not even sure what these would look like), the future is pretty bleak for small-market teams."
• "I think that it will be a continuous cycle of building up young talent and then having large media market teams coming in to steal them away from smaller market teams."
• "Golden State was not considered a big market until the past couple of years. Create a system that shares the ball and have a couple of dynamic players that other players want to play with. Rudy (Gobert) is the player and (Quin) Snyder's system could work."
• "Hope to develop players fast enough to start something good, then keep building. If you asked me a few years ago, I wouldn't have thought Golden State was that much different than the Jazz."
• "Small-market teams will become irrelevant and more like a developmental league for the super teams."
Some Jazz fans are deciding to donate their old Hayward jerseys to charity. We asked readers if they owned his jersey. The few who do own a Hayward Jazz jersey responded with plans on what they'll do with it.
• "I have two — already in the garbage."
• "My wife plans to burn hers — or secretly keep it because she's still in love with him."
• A handful of responders said they will end up burning Hayward's jersey, but some also said they will take it to Deseret Industries.
To conclude our survey, we asked Jazz fans how Hayward should be remembered in Utah. Here's a few responses.
• "Positively. He did a lot for the organization, the state of Utah and its community."
• "His decision to leave was all up to him and Boston probably is a better option for him, but the way everything was handled was not in the best view of the fans of Utah."
• "He shouldn't. He brought the Jazz one playoff series win. That is nothing next to pantheon of great Jazz players who have played here."
• "I think he should be remembered as the young player no one gave a chance and how the Jazz organization built him into the All-Star that he is. It's unfortunate that he didn't see the long-term vision we were trying to build here in Utah. This really set us back."
• "Well. He earned the right to move. Disappointed that he did. (Karl) Malone and (John) Stockton were not normal small-market players."