NBA trade rumors have been floating around Utah Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward in recent weeks, and most of those rumors have involved the Boston Celtics as a potential destination for Hayward. According to CBS Sports, general manager Danny Ainge wants to make a deal for Gordon Hayward and reunite him with his college coach, Brad Stevens. Hayward can become an unrestricted free agent this summer (he has a player option for 2017-18), but the Celtics would like to make a move for Hayward now, which should give them an advantage in re-signing Hayward if he opts out of his contract after the 2016-17 season and pursues free agency.
Current NBA trade rumors are circulating that the Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz may become trade partners before the NBA trade deadline in February. The scenario that is being bandied about online would have Gordon Hayward heading to the Celtics. In exchange for Hayward, the Jazz would acquire a package that includes power forward Amir Johnson, small forward Jaylen Brown and shooting guard Terry Rozier. This proposal passes the test of following all NBA trade and salary cap restraints (per the ESPN NBA Trade Machine), so it is plausible from that standpoint.
The Boston Celtics have been trying to shake things up with a significant trade since the summer of 2016, as multiple reports have indicated. Many of the early rumors related to the Celtics centered around big men such as the Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins, but none of those alleged trade talks resulted in a deal. The hot topic has now become Boston’s interest in acquiring Gordon Hayward, who played for head coach Brad Stevens when the pair led Butler University to back-to-back NCAA Championship games in 2010 and 2011.
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Celtics fans are well aware of the Hayward-to-Boston rumors, as evidenced by their cheering when Gordon Hayward was announced as a Jazz starter before their game at the TD Garden against the Celtics on January 3. The Boston Herald reports that current Boston small forward Jae Crowder was not pleased by local fans cheering for Hayward before the game, as it seemed to imply that Celtics Nation would like to see Hayward replace Crowder in Boston’s lineup. Since Crowder is not rumored to be part of this hypothetical trade proposal, he would have to accept a backup role behind Hayward if this deal was made — and that would seem to be a very hard sell for Celtics’ coaches and management.
The Boston Celtics would certainly like to obtain Gordon Hayward, but this doesn’t appear to be the best scenario for the Celtics to make that happen. There is a risk in trading for a player who can become a free agent after the current season, but even beyond that, this specific proposal would leave Boston thin at power forward, and they would have both Hayward and Crowder at small forward, which is only a workable solution if Hayward leaves in free agency next summer, and that is not at all what the Celtics are planning if they agree to this deal.
From Utah’s side of things, the trade would not be any more sensible than it is for Boston. Jaylen Brown might be a good young talent for the Jazz to develop behind Joe Johnson, but Amir Johnson and Terry Rozier really wouldn’t have a role with Utah if this theoretical swap was made. The team would be taking a chance if they keep Hayward and try to re-sign him after the 2016-17 campaign, but this rumored offer wouldn’t help the Jazz nearly enough for them to consider unloading Gordon Hayward this season.
The Boston Celtics and NBA trade rumors seem to be an inseparable combination these days, but that doesn’t mean the team will make any moves as a result. Danny Ainge may be in the process of figuring out a way to bring Gordon Hayward to Boston via trade, but if he is eventually successful, this rumored scenario is not the one that will make that happen.
[Featured Image by Michael Dwyer/AP Images]