Gordon Hayward is yet to live up to expectations from the massive contract he signed with the Boston Celtics in the summer of 2017. In 72 games he played last season, the 29-year-old small forward only averaged 11.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.4 assists while shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. As of now, most people see Hayward more as a salary cap burden than a player who could help the Celtics win an NBA championship title.
In his recent article, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report mentioned possible ways teams like the Celtics could trade the NBA’s worst contracts. To get Gordon Hayward’s lucrative deal off their books, Swartz suggested that the Celtics could send him, together with Robert Williams and a lottery-protected 2020 first-round pick, to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson. The proposed trade deal works on ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine.
The potential deal would not only allow the Celtics to unload Gordon Hayward’s contract, but it would also help them improve their roster depth. Tristan Thompson would give the Celtics a defensive-minded big man that could fill the void left by Al Horford, while Jordan Clarkson would be a reliable backup for All-Star point guard Kemba Walker.
“Moving him to the Cavs for Thompson and Clarkson would make sense both now and in the future. Boston likely craves a defensive center after Al Horford left for the Philadelphia 76ers in free agency and Enes Kanter was brought in as his replacement. Thompson, 28, averaged 10.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and held opponents to 56.1 percent shooting at the rim, a better mark than Horford (59.6 percent) last season. Clarkson, 27, would give them instant offense off the bench, as he ranked second on the Cavs in scoring (career-high 16.8 points) despite not starting any of his 81 games.”
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) August 14, 2019
As compensation for absorbing Gordon Hayward’s contract, the Cavaliers would be acquiring a young player in Robert Williams and a future first-round pick. Hayward may have been a huge disappointment in his first two seasons in Boston, but being in a new environment could help him regain his All-Star form. In Cleveland where Kevin Love is currently considered the main man, Hayward could receive a more significant role on the offensive end of the floor.
After years of playing alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love definitely won’t have a hard time building chemistry with a ball-dominant superstar like Gordon Hayward. If Hayward returns to his old self and Love manages to stay healthy, the Cavaliers have a strong chance of returning to the Eastern Conference Playoffs in the 2019-20 NBA season.