The reality is, the Celtics don’t have easy options even if they were determined to upgrade in the middle. While one could have some fun with the Trade Machine, Boston has made it clear to anyone who has asked that their core players are absolutely not available. That includes, sources said, both Hayward and Smart, players who have been floated as possible trade chips in the past.
The Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics are in ongoing talks over a sign-and-trade that involves Gordon Hayward getting a max contract and Jae Crowder coming to Utah, league sources told The Salt Lake Tribune on Wednesday.
League sources told The Tribune that Hayward and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, have agreed to help facilitate a sign-and-trade. Utah would sign Hayward to a new max deal, then send him to Boston in exchange for Crowder, who has just short of three years and $22 million remaining on his contract.
Tanner Ainge, son of Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, is feeling the effects of that decision — at least on social media. Tanner Ainge, who is seeking to replace Jason Chaffetz in Utah's 3rd Congressional District, was vocal on social media about wanting Hayward to stay with the Jazz. Most recently, he tweeted a link to a MassLive.com article about the Massachusetts “millionaire tax,” which taxes higher amounts to those who make more than $1 million in the Bay State.
"Unfortunately, I'm not sure I have a lot of influence there," Ainge said in an interview with the Deseret News weeks before Tuesday's news about Hayward. "Ultimately, Gordon is going to make the decision. I hope he stays."
Will Hayward's decision to flee to Boston affect Ainge's campaign? Republican operative Chuck Warren told Newsweek (also before Tuesday) that it might, since the race for Chaffetz's seat remains wide open. Warren said the frontrunners are Ainge, Provo Mayor John Curtis and former state legislator Chris Herrod. A three-sided coin would help decide the race, he said.
Meanwhile, George is intrigued by the idea of playing with Hayward, sources close to him have told ESPN.com. If Boston adds one more asset, they can disrupt L.A.'s best-laid plans.
Joseph Horner: Same with Hayward. Interesting idea. - RT: Albert Nahmad: The power of the new designated veteran player rules will be in full display with Paul George this summer, even if he doesn’t make All-NBA. Pacers can give Paul George a DVP payout if gets All-NBA this season OR next season. By trading him, they’d lose 2nd major shot to keep him. Paul George has been an All-NBA player before. Making it again is not unrealistic. Which gives Pacers and trade partners lots to consider. Pacers need to decide whether they want to trade Paul George, who may not be able to pass up DVP money to stay if earns All-NBA next season. Even if Paul George requests a trade and says he won’t re-sign with the Pacers, he might reconsider if he has an extra $75M on the line!
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.
The problem is that Utah, winners of 15 of their last 21 games, is in position to make the playoffs for the first time in six years and is just now cashing in on years of difficult rebuilding. They have no desire to let Hayward walk, and with the trading deadline still seven weeks away, they’ve not considered offers for Hayward. That could change. As one league source pointed out, “No one does things more quietly than Utah,” and the 2011 trade of Deron Williams to the Nets, which seemingly came out of the blue, is a good example of that.
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.
Jazz sources said it’s highly unlikely the team even considers a trade for Hayward, but that won’t stop the Celtics from checking the temperature there as teams head into the new NBA season in late September.
The premise — that Hayward is unhappy and has demanded a trade — simply isn’t true, multiple sources in the Jazz organization and close to Hayward told the Deseret News. Would Hayward like to play for his old Butler coach and close friend Brad Stevens? Of course he would. Anybody would be silly to believe otherwise.
Does that mean he’s unhappy in Utah and wants out? Absolutely not. “There is no truth to this rumor,” one team source said. “Gordon has been terrific.” Lindsey put it this way when asked if an unhappy Hayward had demanded a trade: "Unequivocally no."
That said, Hayward is as competitive of a person as you’ll find, so there are some things he would like to see changed in Utah, another source confirmed. He wants to win. He wants better talent around him after a 40-42 season left the team out of the playoffs for the fourth straight year. He’s wanted to play with a really good point guard, which, by the way, makes the trade for veteran George Hill a smart move by the Jazz. But there were no demands made by Hayward, who has a strong relationship with Jazz coach Quin Snyder and his Utah teammates.
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.
September 16, 2021 | 8:59 am EDT Update
Jorge Sierra: Free agent guard Isaiah Thomas will be working out with the Warriors next week, sources tell me and @Michael Scotto.
With the understanding that things can change — it’s a business, things can change with you, things change with the organization — as we sit here right now, do you see yourself in Toronto long term? Pascal Siakam: I do. I’m a really prideful person and I always want to be the best player that I can be, and the bubble wasn’t that. So I get it, I understand it, but also for me what really hurt me is one of those things about my dad or like, “Oh, your dad wouldn’t have been proud of this.” [Siakam’s father died in a car accident in 2014.]
Was there any irritation from you toward the Raptors that your name was surfacing so much in trade rumors? Pascal Siakam: It didn’t bother me really, because I never really heard anything from the Raptors. Even all the news I was seeing it was never like: “Oh. The Raptors wanted to give up Siakam for this.” It was always like, “The Warriors like Pascal,” or it was always, “The Kings like Pascal,” or this. There was never nothing where it was like, “The Raptors wanted to give away Pascal.”
Were you surprised that Kyle Lowry left for Miami? Pascal Siakam: I wouldn’t say I was surprised by it because obviously I could see it coming. When I was a rookie, these were the people that we look up to, right? It was Kyle. It was DeMar [DeRozan]. Kyle was like our big brother. We looked up to him and DeMar. So it was weird, obviously, to see them go. Sometimes, I’ll be thinking, “OK, Kyle is not here anymore, right?” You don’t really put it in perspective. Some of the questions obviously about what the team wants to do and things like that, they ask you. And before you felt like all those questions, I didn’t really have to answer them, because I felt like Kyle was there and now he’s not there.
How is rehab going? Pascal Siakam: I was expecting it to be worse, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I would say just, I think the first two weeks or three weeks was the worst, just because I couldn’t sleep. I have to find a position to get comfortable. I had to sleep on the couch for two weeks because I couldn’t sleep on the bed. I’m a side sleeper. So I couldn’t do that. Are you even shooting or doing anything basketball-wise? Pascal Siakam: Yes. I’m shooting, ball handling. I think at this point in the process I look better than I thought I was expecting at least or I’m doing more than I thought I would do at that time.
September 16, 2021 | 8:32 am EDT Update
Dusan Ivkovic passed away in the early hours of Thursday morning in a Belgrade hospital, with the first information from the Serbian media reporting that he had collected fluid in his lungs. Ivkovic was known as one of the most influential coaches in European and world basketball, having won numerous titles in his 46 years active.
Pau Gasol: “I keep thinking about my future, I don’t see myself on any team other than Barça.” On retirement: “I keep thinking about whether to continue or not. It will not be an easy decision and when I know it I will let you know. I have been a professional for 23 years and I am considering all the factors to make a decision soon and be able to communicate it. I have not made a decision 100 percent. If I look back it has been many years enjoying very interesting things.”
AS Monaco is adding guard Mike James to their bolstered roster for the 2021-22 season, as first reported by Home of Glory and Donatas Urbonas, also confirmed by Eurohoops sources. James, 31, who recently parted ways with CSKA Moscow was on the lookout for a new team while training individually in Moscow in the meantime.