Wojnarowski said Boston’s next big splash might not c…

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.”

More on Gordon Hayward Free Agency

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.”
Extending Hill now is the best hedge against Hayward leaving. Losing both would eviscerate Utah's perimeter rotation; it is Utah's doomsday scenario. But Hill may wait out Hayward's decision; the two are close, with shared Indiana roots and Indy-based trainers. Even so, Hill would at least listen if the Jazz approached with an offer today. "I was never one who wanted to move from team to team," Hill told ESPN.com. "If the opportunity to stay is there, I'd love to take it."
Hayward is happy, if not satisfied, in Utah. He's not ready to commit to re-signing with the Jazz, but that's partially because he doesn't want to clutter his mind with business when the Jazz finally seem primed to make the playoffs again. "For me, I realized from that first year that anything can happen and anything can change," Hayward said. "Really, as a basketball player in this business, when you start to worry about where you're going to be in the future and what's going to happen the next couple of years, that's when you start to get distracted and you start to not play as well and things start to slip away. I've always been told to control what I can control. For me this year, that's helping the Jazz win as many basketball games as I can, and that's honestly what my focus is on.
"As far as what's going to happen in the future, I don't have a magic lamp or anything to say what the future holds. For me, I'm here right now and happy to be in Salt Lake, happy to play for the Jazz and excited for our upcoming season."
Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey sounds confident about keeping free-agent-to-be Gordon Hayward in Utah. This is what he said in an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio: "For us I think, as much as anything, we need to be ourselves with Gordon, need to be authentic and real and then he's going to have a decision to make. But fundamentally, if we do the right things here... Let's just be honest, we have an advantage by having his Bird rights. There's a lot of money associated with the fifth year and higher raises."
Boston also expressed interest in Blake Griffin this summer, so it’s conceivable they’d have interest when he hits free agency. To be clear, those conversations were merely exploratory since the Clippers had no interest in retooling, per a league source. Gordon Hayward received interest from Boston in 2014 when he was a restricted free agent; Hayward and Brad Stevens also have unfinished business after experiencing a heartbreaking national championship loss at Butler. Beyond that, there is no star, max-level, unrestricted free agent available in 2017 that is both reasonably acquirable and enticing to the Celtics.
Most league insiders agree that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert remains the most likely candidate, of the 2013 first-rounders still on the board, to land an extension by month's end. The French Rejection -- or Stifle Tower, if you insist -- is one of the foremost draft steals of recent vintage, ranks as a leading NBA Defensive Player of the Year favorite and stands as a key figure in Utah's rise in the West. Rest assured, Jazz officials are well aware that securing the long-term futures of Gobert and Derrick Favors can only enhance their chances of avoiding the nightmare scenario of seeing free agent-to-be Gordon Hayward leave in the summer.
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.
Hayward's pending free agency is well known. He's expected to opt out of the final year of his contract next summer and cash in for max dollars, whether it be with the Jazz, or with another team. Beyond Hayward, however, Favors comes off his current contract at the end of the 2017-2018 season. Gobert is set to hit restricted free agency in 2017, and Hood and Exum will become restricted free agents in 2018. That means most of the Jazz core members are in line for new contracts, and most of them — if the free agency period this summer is an indicator — are good enough to make themselves a lot of money.
There is a sense the Celtics would love to pry away Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward, who has a player option next year, which few in the NBA believe he’ll exercise meaning he’ll likely be an unrestricted free agent. There were rumors around the draft that Hayward would welcome a trade, but Jazz sources downplayed any reported unhappiness. Still, there is a real risk that Hayward could walk next July.
Storyline: Gordon Hayward Free Agency
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August 14, 2022 | 3:06 am EDT Update

Kevin Durant holding out of training camp?

Brian Windhorst spent much of his Friday episode of “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” podcast talking about Durant’s situation. Windhorst said he felt the Nets won the recent showdown between Durant and team owner Joe Tsai. But Windy doesn’t necessarily think that means all is over between the sides. In fact, Windhorst says he now could see a world where Durant holds out of training camp. “A week ago, if you had asked me, ‘Will Kevin Durant hold out of training camp if he is not traded?’ I would have been like, ‘eh, I can’t see it.’ Now I can see it. That is what we are headed towards,” Windhorst said.
Longtime basketball writer Marc Stein reported on Saturday that a matchup between the Grizzlies and the rival Golden State Warriors is on the NBA’s preliminary schedule for the 2022-23 season. Morant, the Memphis star, responded to the news with some trash talk for Warriors counterpart Draymond Green. “we got what we wanted dray. @Money23Green,” Morant tweeted along with a photo of a heated moment he had on the court with Green last year. Green was actually fairly muted and deferential in his response to Morant, tweeting back, “That’s the power of your voice Young! Let’s gooooo! Bring the fam to the crib for dinner after.”
The lawsuit says that by sharing the photos, those involved — including the deputy at the bar and firefighters weeks later at an awards banquet — violated the victims’ families’ constitutional rights to control images of their loved ones’ remains. “Mrs. Bryant feels ill at the thought of strangers gawking at images of her deceased husband and child, and she lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online,” Bryant’s lawyers wrote in a complaint. “Many social media users have claimed to have seen photos of the victims’ remains, and their accounts are plausible given the number of deputies who took photos, the ease with which cellphone pictures are transmitted and saved in cloud storage, and the Sheriff’s Department’s egregious failure to take reasonable steps to prevent dissemination of the photos.”
Storyline: Vanessa Bryant Lawsuit
Surveillance video inside the bar showing Cruz and Gutierrez interacting and appearing to look at Cruz’s cellphone together played throughout his testimony. At times, it appeared that Cruz and Gutierrez were smiling and laughing after viewing the photos — but Gutierrez disputed that interpretation. “What type of human being would laugh at photos of other human beings like that?” he said. Bryant, sitting in the courtroom, repeatedly wiped away tears and, at times, held her head in her hands. At one point, while Gutierrez testified about the photos, she asked the judge for permission to leave the courtroom. She stood up and walked out, wiping tears from her eyes. The trial is expected to last at least another week, with 52 total witnesses slated to appear. Villanueva and Bryant are among those scheduled to testify.
August 13, 2022 | 9:32 pm EDT Update