NBA Rumor: Gordon Hayward Free Agency

285 rumors in this storyline

Hornets officially land Gordon Hayward in a sign-and-trade deal

More Rumors in this Storyline

Boston, post-Hayward, represents the other side of the Bird rights trap. Its roster is a bit like a deflated balloon right now. The Celtics used their MLE on a big man, just like they would have anyway, and another small exception on a guard, and as a result are more or less the exact same team they would have been … except without Hayward. They can’t replace him as an over-the-cap team. It’s possible for Boston to pull off a late, dramatic save by generating a massive $30 million (or so) trade exception in a sign-and-trade with Charlotte, but even that will prove costly. The Celtics need to pony up an asset to include in the trade with Charlotte and then, almost certainly, another asset to bring a player into the exception. At a minimum, replacing Hayward in their salary structure will cost them two draft picks.

Like I said, it’s the thing every front office fears, and it just came and bit Boston yesterday. Boston had its nice little plans, and then Charlotte bulldozed them when it fell head over heels for Hayward. That forced the Celtics to either pay through the nose to keep him or lose him and struggle to come up with a remotely comparable replacement. That’s why the Bird rights trap is one of the thorniest issues front offices face and keeps execs up at night at this time of year. For 29 teams, a deal like that for Hayward was absurd. But it only takes one.

I know we’re always supposed to have an instant reaction in this business — not to mention a crystal ball — but I’m going to go rogue against the industry norm this time around and wait and see how this plays out. This much is clear, though: If Hayward is going to be worth this kind of money, he needs to get back to an All-Star level and lead this Hornets group to real contention in the East in the next few years. That’s a lofty goal to reach for someone who has endured such painful and unpredictable ups and downs these past couple of years. For what it’s worth, sources say he had at least one other offer available that was in this ballpark money-wise (more like four years, $100 million). Indiana, Atlanta and New York were all known to be in pursuit of Hayward as well.

Gordon Hayward focused on signing with Pacers

Stadium: “Gordon Hayward is fully focused and wants to sign a deal with the Pacers.” Our NBA Insider @ShamsCharania has the latest on Hayward’s potential landing spot in free agency.

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.”

What will Hayward do with his player option and what will his role be next season? Scotto: I think you and I can safely say a $34 million player option for Hayward is getting picked up for next season. King: When you talk to people, the assumption is he will pick that up. Obviously, with the way the salary cap uncertainty is, there aren’t going to be as many teams with cap space, to begin with, this offseason. A lot of them are younger teams that Hayward probably wouldn’t be a great fit on. I think he picks up the player option. I think that’s safe. The discussion around him mostly relates to how expensive this Celtics roster is going to get moving forward.

Gordon Hayward opting in?

Around the league, front-office executives say they expect that Hayward will opt-in. “It’s too much money to pass up,” one general manager told Heavy.com. “He could get a longer deal if that is what he really wants. But I don’t think the Celtics want to give it to him, they have a lot of young guys to pay and the starting (salary) number on whatever the contract is will not be close to $34 million. He can opt in this year and then take a big contract next year. When you look at what he has done since his injury, he has only gotten better. He could get better next year and be ready for the summer of 2021.”

Another front-office executive, from the Western Conference, told Heavy.com that even before the coronavirus forced the NBA into a suspended season, he expected that free-agent conditions will give Hayward an easy decision. The only X-factor is whether Hayward has an agreement in place with the Celtics to opt-out and sign a longer deal. “There wasn’t going to be a whole lot of free-agent money on the market this summer no matter what,” he said. “That was always going to make it difficult to figure out how to opt-out and get paid. He could do that and re-sign with the Celtics and there may already be a handshake deal for something like that. I don’t know for sure but it would not surprise me.

The Celtics rely on Hayward as part of their wing-centric lineup but they may have suitors to fend off. Charlotte, who previously signed him to an offer sheet in 2014, is projected with $26.7 million in cap space. Miami, who is projected with $26.5 million in cap space, also pursued Hayward in 2017, although indications are that they want to keep the keg dry for 2021. Other teams with at least that much cap space include Atlanta, Detroit, and New York. It seems unlikely that Hayward would want to leave Boston, and none of these teams other than New York can offer Hayward a true maximum contract (projected $40.3 million starting salary). If Hayward opts out, expect him to re-sign with the Celtics on a long-term deal. He is still getting minor injuries every now and then, so it would be wise to get the security given his history.

Celtics interested in keeping Gordon Hayward long-term

A league source confirmed to BostonSportsJournal.com the Celtics remain very interested in bringing back Hayward over the long-term whether or not he elects to pick up that option this summer. Price point is always going to be an area of concern for the C’s with future deals though as seen last summer when the team declined to match the hefty four-year $109 million offer from the Sixers on Al Horford (and also give up the assets necessary to make a sign-and-trade to keep Horford and bring on Kemba Walker).

Running low on matches or lighter fluid? Don’t burn your old Gordon Hayward jersey — donate it. That’s the vision of Zach Harding, who works in Salt Lake City and whose company will be traveling to Ghana in September through World Joy, a foundation in North Salt Lake. Among the hygiene kits and school supplies that his company hopes to provide to African children, Harding thought it would be a good use of unwanted Gordon Hayward gear to offer it to them as well. “Instead of wasting or destroying your jersey, I just had a thought that maybe we can give it to people who might never have seen a jersey in their lives,” he told the Tribune. “Maybe it would brighten their day over there.”

More HoopsHype Rumors
January 18, 2021 | 11:11 am EST Update

Rockets want three second-round picks for PJ Tucker?

People around the league wonder what Rockets general manager Rafael Stone will do next following the Harden blockbuster. As I reported last week, Victor Oladipo, an impending free agent, has eyes for Miami. Could the Heat, or another team looking to contend—such as the Nuggets or Celtics—try to acquire him? And how about P.J. Tucker? Numerous teams have already inquired about the stout versatile defender, and league sources say Houston is currently demanding three second-round draft picks for the upcoming unrestricted free agent.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 60 more rumors
But don’t be surprised if there are more trades on the horizon for the Nets. According to Brian Windhorst, one such player who could be on the move is 23-year-old combo guard Landry Shamet (via ESPN): “I don’t know what sort of trade value that they have left on their roster. I talked to two different teams that the Nets offered Landry Shamet to in the last week, attempting to get a first-round pick. They were trying to keep Jarrett Allen, as you can imagine. So to get the fourth first-round pick, they were trying to find a team that would give them anything and so they shopped Landry Shamet pretty hard, from what I understand.”
Brooklyn acquired Shamet from the Clippers as part of a three-teamtrade that occurred on the night of the 2020 NBA draft. The sharpshooter projected as an ideal fit for the Nets considering how many open looks he would get on the floor alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Shamet is a shooting specialist who does not provide a ton of extra value as a playmaker or on defense. But he is currently averaging a career-worst 5.4 points per game. Similarly, his three-pointers per game (1.1) and three-point percentage (30.6 percent) are both the lowest marks of his career. Meanwhile, he is down from 27.4 minutes per game last season to just 17.6 minutes per game so far in 2020-21.
The Sixers missed out on Harden. There’s no other way around it. Harden would have given them what they lack in a superstar perimeter shot-creator. But the price was undeniably high. League sources say the Rockets demanded Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, and three first-round picks from the Sixers in return for Harden. You can’t blame Morey for refusing to go all in when there’s long-term risk in adding a 31-year-old who has only two guaranteed seasons left on his deal. There also could be other options available eventually from losing teams, such as Washington’s Bradley Beal or Chicago’s Zach LaVine.
However, Houston’s demand says something more about the value of Simmons around the league. And that could impact Philadelphia’s hopes of acquiring a player who can fill its void. Every team executive recognizes Simmons is one of the league’s best defenders and a dynamic open-floor playmaker. Perhaps in a different situation, he could fill a role resembling Giannis Antetokounmpo’s. But Simmons also has plenty of skeptics who see his inability to shoot as a fatal flaw.
Storyline: Ben Simmons Trade?
They were completely unprepared for the news Raman delivered — that she was joining the Grizzlies as an assistant coach. “At first we were like, ‘Grizzlies? What college is that?’” Kylie Gallagher, a senior forward, recalled. Raman quickly clarified that she was headed to the N.B.A.’s Memphis Grizzlies, then worked off prepared notes — she knew she would be emotional — as she thanked her players and her staff, and offered more details about the unexpected opportunity that had come her way. “Oh, they were shocked,” Raman, 46, said in a recent interview. “But those players are a part of me, and my experiences with them has made me the coach I am now.”
Maybe, if everything breaks right, sports leagues somehow muddle through this bleak winter, hanging on tight until players—and the rest of us—are finally all vaccinated. Until we reach the end of that tunnel. “Obviously we want sports, and we want activities that provide leisure and fun,” says Vespignani. “And I understand that for professional players—especially to play in an arena where there is no audience, to stay in a bubble aside from the family—it’s difficult. But these are difficulties we’re all facing in different ways. Children do not go to school. We work from home. So we all need to cope with that for a few more months and be very strict with the rules.
Storyline: Coronavirus