Gordon Hayward made headlines late Tuesday when he announced in a column posted in the Player Tribune that he would be joining the Boston Celtics on a four year deal worth $128 million dollars.
As soon as it was announced the debate of whether the Celtics could now dethrone the Cavs in the East.
Nxt Gen Sports founder Derrik Noel (LeBron hater) had this to say when presented with the question, “if the Celtics get the looks they had last year, there will be a lot of excuses being made by LeBron fans, which is what they do best.”
Personally, I believe that the Celtics didn’t get as close as everyone thinks due to a few reasons
- LeBron can guard Gordon Hayward. He struggled with Kevin Durant in the finals, but Hayward is not even on the same planet as Durant offensively.
- If you watched the series this playoffs, you saw that Kelly Olynick was arguably the Celtics most effective player against the Cavs, and the Celtics let him walk to make room for Hayward.
- Isaiah Thomas couldn’t guard Kyrie if Kyrie had one leg
- Al Horford is not a great rebounder, which is Tristan Thompson’s biggest strength.
- The Celtics don’t really have anyone that can play the Power Forward. The only one on the roster is Jordan Mickey. Jae Crowder could play stretch 4, but that would not help the rebounding any.
- The Celtics have to trade Marcus Smart to make room for Hayward. Smart is a key contributor. Or the other option is to trade Terry Rozier and waive Jordan Mickey, who as I stated is the only power forward on the roster.
All in all, the Celtics got better, but not better enough. If they can keep Smart and somehow discover a rebounding power forward to put in the lineup, I’ll give them a chance. But as of now, Hayward just isn’t enough to get past one of the 5 greatest players to ever play the game.
Paul George has reportedly been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo.
Update: The trade is now confirmed. First reported by Ramona Shelbourne.
First reactions seem to indicate that the Pacers got a poor return on their investment. The trade also comes as a complete shock considering OKC wasn’t even mentioned in talks leading up to the trade.
The market for PG must’ve crashed as the Pacers were only able to Net Victor Oladipo, and Domantas Sabonis.
Fans of the Indiana University basketball program remember Oladipo well from his time as a star at IU leading to him being selected 2nd overall in the 2013 draft. 4 years into his career and he has yet to live up to that lofty draft slot.
Sabonis was a lottery pick in last years draft (11th overall). He had a quiet rookie year in which he averaged 5.6 points and 3.2 rebounds a game in about 20 minutes per night. This acquisition could pave the way for a Thad Young trade.
Overall, the Thunder made out like Bandits in this trade. They traded two underwhelming players for a top 15 player in the league. The worst part of this trade for the Pacers is that Oladipo signed a 4 year, $84 million extension earlier this season. That is too much cap space being taken up by one player on a rebuilding team. I’d like to see the Pacers flip Oladipo for more assets. A first round pick and young bench player should be an attainable package.
More to come on this.
SALT LAKE CITY– All-Star Forward Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz has informed the team that he will be opting out of his contract and testing the open market. This announcement comes as no surprise due to the rumors that have been circulating that Hayward is Boston bound.
Opting out was the right move financially for Hayward as he was on the books for $16.73 million next year, and in free agency he will no doubt attract a 4 year $130 million max deal after a career year in which he averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists.
Here are the top three potential destinations for Hayward.
1. Boston Celtics
The obvious favorite in the Hayward sweepstakes, Boston seems like a perfect fit. They have a team that is only a couple of pieces away from competing with the Cavs and the cap room to offer the max. This would also be a Butler reunion between Hayward and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
It is rumored that if the Celtics do land Hayward that they will push for a trade for Paul George as the last piece to dethrone Lebron in the East.
2. Utah Jazz
If Hayward does decline to sign with the Celtics or if the Celtics go after Blake Griffin instead, his next best option is to stay put and re-up with the Jazz on a new max contract. The Jazz won 51 games last year and made it to the second round of the playoffs, retaining their star should be their top offseason priority.
3. Miami Heat
The Heat were a team that almost snuck in the playoffs last year. They have a near elite center in Hassan Whiteside and an emerging Dion Waiters, along with a veteran point guard in Goran Dragic. They have a good batch of role players in Tyler and James Johnson. Hayward could be the piece that could vault Miami into contention in the East.
My Prediction: Boston Celtics
This match is almost too good to be true. The Celtics need another scorer to pair with Isaiah Thomas and Hayward can be that guy. Hayward and Brad Stevens are still very close and talk often. I’ll be extremely surprised if Hayward is wearing a Jersey that doesn’t have a shamrock on it next year.