Apr 2, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson (25) shoots as Philadelphia 76ers forward Jarvis Varnado (40) defends during the second quarter at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Al Jefferson believes Gordon Hayward 'can be really special'

The Charlotte Hornets are seemingly indebted to their big man Al Jefferson. Not only did Jefferson help the team (then Bobcats) become the most improved in the NBA last year, going from 21 wins to 43 last season, but he has also helped recruit free agents to the team this offseason as well.

One of the marquee free agents the Hornets hoped to sign was Utah Jazz guard Gordon Hayward. Earlier this week, the Hornets began step one in signing their man as Hayward signed an offer sheet from the team worth $63 million over four years.

While the Jazz still have the right to match the Hornets offer, and they have said previously that they plan to do so, Jefferson is excited about the possibility of playing with Hayward again next season in Charlotte. Jefferson and Hayward were teammates on the Jazz before Al signed with Charlotte last season.

Jefferson spoke with the Charlotte Observer about recruiting Hayward, and talked about potentially reuniting with his former teammate:

It was fun (to help recruit). Especially to do it with Gordon. It’s an honor to hear that he wants to come back and play with me. It lets me know I am not a bad teammate. I’m really happy. Gordon is one of those guys that I think can be really special.

Last year – with Miami in the playoffs – they blitzed Kemba Walker on the pick and roll and were double teaming me. Gordon is another guy we could’ve given the ball. He can score. He can make his own plays. He can get everyone else involved. He is one of those guys who has improved every year he has been in the league.

If Hayward does in fact join the Hornets next season, Charlotte fans have a lot to look forward to as the team builds off of their 41 win season last year with a strong, youthful core and Al Jefferson as their veteran leader.

Tags: Al Jefferson Charlotte Hornets Gordon Hayward NBA Utah Jazz

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