In the midst of the ongoing 2020 Playoffs, several trade ideas have started surfacing in the league. These include a three-way blockbuster deal involving the Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz, and the Philadelphia 76ers that would send veteran small forward Gordon Hayward back to Salt Lake City. In the proposed scenario by Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, the Jazz will receive Hayward, the Sixers will get Mike Conley, while the Celtics will acquire Tobias Harris and a 2021 first-round pick.
Despite how things ended between them in the summer of 2017, the Jazz would definitely welcome Hayward back to Utah with open arms, especially now that they obviously need more star power around Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert in order to have a realistic chance of winning a title. Hayward may no longer be as explosive as he was before, but he could still help the Jazz ease the load on Mitchell’s shoulders on the offensive end of the floor. Also, returning to the team that selected him as the No. 9 overall pick in 2010 may enable Hayward to bring back his confidence and regain his All-Star form.
If the deal becomes a reality, Swartz believes that it would not only be beneficial for the Jazz, but also for the Sixers and the Celtics.
“Swapping Harris for Conley would be a huge money saver for the Sixers, who would avoid the final four years of his deal and land a veteran point guard to run things if Ben Simmons stays at power forward. Boston takes on a lot of long-term salary, but the Celtics weren’t going to have cap space anyway with a massive Jayson Tatum extension likely coming this offseason. Harris would become the team’s starting power forward, and the first-round pick next year would be a “thank you” from Philly for taking on the extra money.”
The Sixers could actually hit two birds with one stone in the potential trade. Aside from getting rid of Harris’ massive contract, it would also allow them to address their backcourt problems. Conley may no longer be in his prime, but when he’s given enough playing time and a significant role on the offensive end of the floor, he could still play at a high level. With his ability to efficiently knock down shots from beyond the arc, Conley could help the Sixers maximize the full potential of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons on the court.
Meanwhile, trading Hayward for Harris and a future first-rounder would also make sense for the Celtics instead of losing him in the 2021 free agency without getting anything in return. However, if the Celtics want to become a more competitive team next year, they could consider demanding Al Horford instead of Harris. Horford’s massive contract may affect their salary cap flexibility in the years to come, but his potential return to Boston would immediately address their need for a defensive-minded big man.