According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, the Boston Celtics have "real interest" in Gordon Hayward this upcoming free-agency.
Since coming out of Butler in 2010, Hayward has steadily become a borderline All-Star for the Utah Jazz. Last season he averaged a career-high 19.7 points a game, while pulling down 5 rebounds and dishing out 4 assists a night. With this consistent production as the team's number one option, Hayward has his Jazz ready to make a run at the playoffs.
This would not be the first time the Celtics have shown interest in acquiring the talented small forward. In 2014 when Hayward was a restricted free-agent, Boston entertained the idea of trying to get Hayward away from Utah. Now with his contract expiring at the end of the 2017 season, Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens will certainly be looking to get a meeting with the ex-Bulldog.
Here are some of Jay King's thoughts on the potential partnership:
Other stars like Blake Griffin and Chris Paul could garner more headlines this summer, but Hayward would fit the Celtics needs in a lot of ways. They want to build a switching, aggressive defense; well, he's 6-foot-8, 230 pounds with enough lateral quickness to guard a number of positions. Imagine lineups with him, Jae Crowder and a fully-formed Jaylen Brown (whatever that might look like). The Celtics need to boost their offensive efficiency; well, Hayward's a career 36-percent 3-point shooter who gets to the free throw line almost six times per 36 minutes and can handle some playmaking responsibilities. Hayward's age also puts him right in line to help the Celtics when their young core hits its prime.
Adding Hayward to the Celtics is not a must, yet the move would fit a need for scoring on the wing. It will be extremely difficult to pry Hayward away from Utah though, mostly because the Jazz have committed to him as their number one option on offense and they will be able to offer more money than Boston.
But who knows, maybe Utah does not live up to the hype and Hayward becomes frustrated with the lack of success. Or maybe Brad Stevens has a strong enough relationship to convince his former protege that Boston is indeed the better fit.
Photo Credit: Michael Conroy, AP
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Spencer Tawes 10/14/2016 10:00:00 AM Tweet Edit