Miami Heat: Latest Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin scuttle

April 18, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) moves the ball against Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) during the first half in game two of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

With free agency set to begin on July 1, we present the latest rumors connecting the Miami Heat to two-top free agents: Blake Griffin and Gordon Hayward.

Every year, July 1 is the most hectic night of the summer for NBA fans. As the start date of free agency, when teams and players can reach preliminary, unofficial agreements (nothing is binding until July 7), the news comes hard, fast and nonstop for days.

For the Miami Heat, next week is going to feature more activity than it has been since LeBron James hightailed it back to Cleveland.

With Chris Bosh‘s max contract finally coming off the books, Pat Riley‘s team will have upwards of $30 million to spend on free agents. Miami has stated their primary goal will be to bring back their core group from last year — guys like James Johnson, Dion Waiters and to a lesser extent, Luke Babbitt.

However, have you ever known Riley to not shoot for the stars (no pun intended) when the opportunity presents itself?

Two such stars set to become available this offseason are Blake Griffin and Gordon Hayward. On Tuesday, we heard the lightest of whispers regarding both players’ futures, and potential ties to the Heat.

First, Sports Illustrated legend Lee Jenkins went on The Herd with Colin Cowherd and made an exciting guess as to where Griffin ends up. (If you wanna hear the portion pertaining to the Heat for yourself, skip ahead to 34:55.)

Full disclosure, Jenkins admitted it was just an estimation on his part — a guess with no substance. But he’s about as well-connected around the league as any reporter, meaning his opinion carries weight. If he thinks Griffin could end up in Miami, it’s notable enough to bear in mind as we approach free agency.

What’s more, after that bit of news, we got another juicy nugget.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical released a report stating that the Boston Celtics are gearing up for a run at Hayward and Paul George. Though the story didn’t appear pertinent to the Heat, the South Florida franchise did receive a quick but important mention.

In Wojnarowski’s own words:

“Utah is fighting to hold onto Hayward in free agency, but is exploring multiple scenarios to reshape the roster should the All-Star forward leave the franchise. The Jazz are working to upgrade the roster, including point guard, before July 1 when Hayward will start taking meetings with Boston and Miami in free agency, league sources said.”

This is the first we’ve heard of Hayward and the Heat actually planning a meeting, and we all know what can happen when Riley is granted one with a big-time free agent. The fact that Hayward is willing to at least sit in a room and talk to him is huge.

What actually ends up happening on July 1 is anyone’s guess. Nonetheless, it’s good to see the Heat are a major part of the dialogue. If they can land either All-Star, Miami’s outlook for 2017-18 gets a whole lot brighter. Saturday can’t get here quickly enough.

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