Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward passed up the opportunity to play in Rio for USA Basketball, mainly to spend time with his wife and newborn child.

Family first for Gordon Hayward

Hayward is a father first, but says in his blog that he still considers turning down the Olympic invitation incredibly hard.

“Making the decision to not join USA Basketball in Rio and represent my country in the Olympics was one of the most difficult choices I’ve ever had to make.

“Experiencing what goes on when you have a child, to me, outweighed the benefits of being an Olympian.”

It’s hard to blame Hayward for the timing of the events. Some things are just more important than basketball.

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Next season in Utah

Hayward also has a big year ahead next season in Utah. The 2016-17 season is a contract year for the forward. He’ll need to make a decision on his basketball future next summer, and the Jazz added more talent to the team this offseason in hopes of convincing him to stay put.

“We have a big year ahead of us with the Jazz. You miss a big chunk of that vital training time before camp when you go to do something like play in the Olympics, and it kind of changes up your routine. I want to be the best player I can be to get us to the playoffs. I want to be an All-Star this year.”

The Jazz missed the playoffs last season, but followed the disappointment up with an aggressive offseason to add more quality to the team. Utah brought in Joe Johnson, George Hill and Boris Diaw to bring veteran leadership to the team.

Next season the league will see if that will be enough.