Storyline: Gordon Hayward to Celtics?

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The C’s have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, and they also could sign another top free agent, similar to their approach last offseason when they drafted Jaylen Brown and signed Al Horford. But who would that free agent be? The Vertical’s Chris Mannix has a pretty good idea. “The next step for this team, that’s got to be Gordon Hayward,” Mannix said on CSNNE’s “Celtics Pregame Live.” “That is a guy who can help this team immediately. And that’s a guy I believe is Boston’s No. 1 target this summer.”

Virtually any team with cap space should pursue Hayward, but considering his desire to contend for a title, it’s difficult to pinpoint a situation better than the one he’s in now. The only realistic team with max cap space and a less treacherous road to the NBA Finals than the Jazz is the Celtics. Brad Stevens coached Gordon Hayward for two years at Butler and the two have a bond that extends back to Hayward’s high school days. There have been rumblings about the duo reuniting ever since Stevens took the Celtics job in 2013; if there’s one looming threat to Utah for Hayward, it’s Boston.

Hayward is now in his seventh (and best) NBA season, all spent with the Jazz. When he did hit restricted free agency in 2014, it was Charlotte—not the Celtics—who made a max offer that was matched by Utah. And while rumors have persisted that the Celtics would somehow land Hayward, the Jazz have never had serious trade talks about dealing Hayward to Boston or anywhere else. To date, at least, the Hayward-to-Boston story has been more myth than reality. But the Celtics will have their best shot at him in the coming months, with Hayward hitting unrestricted free agency this summer and Boston easily able to clear enough cap room to make him a max offer.

Specifically, one reporter mentioned forward Gordon Hayward, whose Utah Jazz are scheduled to visit Boston on Monday night. The Celtics have expressed interest in Hayward before and should have ways to clear enough cap space for a maximum contract this summer. Assuming Hayward explores the market (his decision could be complicated), he will be one of the top players available. “We’re not allowed to talk about that, as you know,” Stevens said after Celtics practice Monday afternoon. “Certainly you have an idea on (the free agency landscape) generally but I don’t get into that stuff because A) it’s not the appropriate time and B) out of respect for the other teams.”

Wojnarowski said Boston’s next big splash might not come until free agency, with small forward Gordon Hayward a prime target given his connection to Brad Stevens from their Butler days. “Danny’s wanted to strike and, like everybody else, get that big star, get that big player,” Wojnarowski said. “[Al] Horford was a big play and a great get in free agency. They can still keep their eye on Gordon Hayward from Utah who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer who played for Brad Stevens at Butler. It think there’s still strong hope in Utah that he’ll want to stay there.”

Wojnarowski added that Hayward liked Utah and would have ample reason to stay, so the Celtics should keep a close eye on the player when deciding whether they’ll give up major assets for someone else who might fill a similar role at the trade deadline. “But Boston’s got to keep their eye on [Hayward’s situation] and sort of monitor it and see [if] can they make a run at him,” Wojnarowski said. “Is he definitely going to re-sign there or might he take a look around in free agency this summer? I think Boston’s got to weigh all that with what kind of a deal they maybe try to get themselves involved with between now and the trade deadline.”
8 months ago via ESPN

Celtics have real interest in Gordon Hayward

There is probably more buzz surrounding Hayward’s impending free agency than about Paul, Griffin, Kyle Lowry and other starrier names. Hayward is 26, in the meat of his prime, killing it at the thinnest position in the league. Utah waited for Charlotte to max him out last time around, and Hayward has a long memory. The Jazz have a ton of guys to pay, and if they down enough beers (just kidding, it’s Utah!), they might convince themselves they have the wing depth to withstand Hayward bolting. His beloved college coach runs a rising team with an easy roadmap to max cap space — and real interest in Hayward, per several league sources.

Celtics' trade offers rebuffed

The Boston Celtics have been pursuing a number of established veterans in the buildup to Thursday’s NBA draft, offering trade packages built around the No. 3 overall pick, according to league sources. But sources told ESPN that the Celtics, to date, have been rebuffed in their efforts to assemble a sufficiently enticing deal to acquire any of these four prime targets: Chicago Bulls All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler, Utah Jazz guard Gordon Hayward and Milwaukee Bucks teammates Jabari Parker or Khris Middleton.
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