Specifically, one reporter mentioned forward Gordon Hay…

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.”

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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.”
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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Goran Dragic talked to the Slovenian press before Saturday’s prep game against Montenegro and explained his motivation about his return to the Slovenian national team. “I predict the semi-finals, but then anything is possible”, said a smiling Dragic, who is ready to defend the title he won together with a young Luka Doncic back in 2017. However, after five years things are different and Dragic understands it: “In my opinion, I will play a little less minutes, it will not be at that level. I don’t know how much I played, 36 minutes per game? Everything will depend on how I feel. The role will definitely be different. I was Batman, but now I’ll be Robin. The most important thing will be to make sure we have good chemistry and be a leader on the court and lift guys up when it’s most difficult. My role remains the same, Luka’s may have changed a bit more, but I believe that everyone has their own role in the national team and that there will be no problems. We all understand each other, we are one big team, and that’s why we can make a good result. That chemistry is what other teams don’t have.”
Dragic had also to convince the Chicago Bulls to let him play, something that was not ideal for them: “When I had a medical exam with Chicago and sat down with them, they said I’d rather not play. I said I’d rather and in the end it’s the player who decides. I had to go to Chicago, undergo a medical examination and everything else. When you go to a medical examination, you always wait for the results, because you never know what can happen”.