The New York Knicks reportedly have plans to grow into a title-contending team, and they may have their sights on Gordon Hayward as a major piece of the puzzle.
As Ian Begley of SNY wrote, New York is keeping a close eye on what happens with Hayward’s player option, and could pounce if it appears he is available. He explained that the Knicks — and the $40 million they will likely have to spend in free agency — would likely be aggressive if Hayward were within their reach.
“He could agree to a sign-and-trade and end up on another team with a new contract. That team, presumably, would have to give up significant assets to obtain Hayward,” the report noted, adding that other reports claimed the front office has looked into landing the Boston Celtics forward via trade.
Whatever Hayward decides will likely have a ripple effect across the league, the report added, with a number of other clubs waiting on a decision and potentially basing other moves off what he chooses.
The outlet added that competition could be high, with the Indiana Pacers also showing interest in a trade for Hayward. Begley added that the likelihood of the rival Celtics and Knicks hammering out a potential deal may seem more remote, but the level of interest from New York and the club’s ability to invest significant resources into its free agency this year left the situation worth monitoring.
Other reports have already indicated that the Knicks plan to be aggressive in putting together a title-contending roster. As The Inquisitr reported, the Knicks could target not only Hayward but also Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook. NBC Sports reported that the aggressive moves could be part of new head coach Tom Thibodeau’s plan to adopt a “win-now” mentality and his desire to exert a high level of control over putting together the roster.
Begley added that the Knicks has a particular interest at point guard — a position that the versatile forward Hayward slid into at times with the Celtics. He noted that the franchise has some promising young players in RJ Barrett and the newly drafted Obi Toppin, and would want a player who can facilitate and create quality shots for them. But any newly acquired player would likely find competition in Dennis Smith Jr., with SNY reporting that some within the organization would like to see him get a shot at playing his way into the regular rotation.