With the San Antonio Spurs struggling to make the playoffs as they prepare to join 21 other teams when the NBA resumes play next month, there has been much talk of the team possibly entering rebuilding mode. That could potentially mean moving on from their erstwhile top players, including shooting guard DeMar DeRozan and forward/center LaMarcus Aldridge. Given the possibility that Aldridge might want to leave San Antonio if DeRozan opts out of the final year of his contract, a recent report suggested that the Spurs could fill a need by trading the veteran big man to the Boston Celtics in exchange for one of their top stars, forward/guard Gordon Hayward.
As explained on Tuesday by Bleacher Report, the trade idea would involve sending Aldridge and fellow veteran frontcourt player Rudy Gay to the Celtics, with the Spurs receiving Hayward and second-year center Robert Williams III in return. The publication noted that this deal would give the Spurs a quality starter at small forward and a possible replacement on offense for DeRozan, should he decide to enter free agency in the 2020 offseason.
"Hayward is four years younger than Aldridge and plays a position of need in San Antonio, especially if DeRozan doesn't return. Williams is 22 and is already a tremendous shot-blocker who could use some time in the Spurs system to develop the rest of his game."According to his Basketball-Reference player page, the 30-year-old Hayward is averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists for the Celtics this season. This marks a huge improvement from his statistics in the 2018-19 season, where he had just recovered from a serious ankle injury that caused him to miss all but one game in the 2017-18 campaign. He is, however, on a contract that will pay him $34.2 million in 2020-21, should he choose to opt into the final year of his deal.
Williams, meanwhile, has played in just 23 games so far for Boston in the 2019-20 season, though he has notably helped out on rebounding and defense, with per-36-minute averages of 12 rebounds and 3.1 blocks, per Basketball-Reference. The 22-year-old has posted per-game averages of 4.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks.
As for the Celtics and how the hypothetical trade could benefit them next season, Bleacher Report wrote that the 34-year-old Aldridge could fill their need for a productive and experienced center, given his per-game averages of 18.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and a 38.9 percent shooting clip from three-point range in 2019-20. While Gay's numbers (10 points, 5.4 rebounds) have declined since his prime years, the outlet also predicted that he might still be good enough to earn a starting job at forward alongside Jayson Tatum.