October 28, 2020 | 1:45 am EDT Update
Could Gordon Hayward be planning on a similar move this offseason? That’s the buzz according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who discussed Hayward’s future on the latest episode of The Lowe Post podcast. “There’s some buzz out there. And I can’t figure out what the buzz means,” Lowe said of Hayward’s potential free agency. “The buzz that I’m hearing is like the smoke, the smoke indicating that something is happening. I’m not sure what’s up, but I don’t think it’s a lock that Gordon Hayward is on the Celtics next year.”
And yet, rumors are swirling from multiple plugged-in NBA people that, even without fully knowing how much money there will be to spend, some NBA teams are already coming to deals with free agents. From Brian Windhorst and Bobby Marks of ESPN, via NBA Sports: Windhorst: I have already heard of a deal that’s been agreed to. Who knows whether it’s true or not? Marks: I had one agent – because I was talking about his free agent and salary projections, right? And he said, “Hey, you’re really low. I’ve already got two offers from two different teams.”
As a result, Gordon’s intent is to keep plugging away. In a new appearance on The Ashley Nevel Show, the 31-year-old explained why he isn’t expecting any major changes this offseason. Among his comments: We’ve always been a team that’s had high expectations. Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen it for the last four years. You can’t forget, every team that we lost to, they ended up winning the championship.
For us, we definitely need to find ways to get over that hump. The chemistry could be better. … For us, we made a lot of change last year. We went small ball halfway through the season. … In the playoffs, it’s all about matchups. We’ve just got to be able to rally around the same group of guys, and build on more chemistry, and try to get better. Try to utilize everybody to play at their best. I think that’s going to make us better, in the long haul. I don’t think they’re going to rebuild this team. This team is good. I don’t care what a lot of people say, it doesn’t matter. Injuries and whatnot, we’ve seen it all here. We still win 50+ games, and we’re still going to be right there in the playoffs.
Lucas, thinking about the T-Mobile Center and fan support and even the Chiefs’ recent ascent, was all in. First, he sent out a tweet, sparking excitement. Then, days later, Lucas’ phone started to buzz once more. This time, folks were leading Lucas to a tweet that had been sent out by Chiefs superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The reigning Super Bowl MVP similarly was vying for the Raptors to call Kansas City their temporary home. “It got some traction,” Lucas said. “It’s Patrick Mahomes.” Lucas grew enthralled with the idea, asking himself this question: “What do we have to do to make sure our ducks are in a row?” He called officials at the Kansas City Sports Commission. He called Missouri and Kansas delegations, both Republicans and Democrats, and gauged their responses — and it was all positive.
Tuesday, conversations continued and grew into a written letter signed by U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt, Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran as well as U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II. Not only did they send the letter to Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, but also it was directed toward Raptors ownership in hopes their effort, interest and potential were clear. “Here’s the thing: You don’t miss out on opportunities like this,” Lucas said. “You jump when you can.”
Behind Lucas’ efforts, it seemed, was the entire city’s population, as fans gushed about the possibility on social media platforms and local sports radio talk shows. Several members of the Chiefs, using their Twitter accounts, expressed enthusiasm for the idea of the Raptors being the city’s newest sports ambassadors. Chiefs veteran guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a Canadian who grew up in Montreal, voiced his support of the Raptors relocating for the upcoming season to Kansas City, a place he says “feels like home.”