Heading into next season, the Celtics figure to have somewhere around 13.5 million dollars in cap space if they opt against resigning Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford. Begging the question; Is Bill Simmons right? Should the Boston Celtics make a run at Gordon Hayward?
Here's what some of our staff thinks:
I'm a big fan of making a major push for Hayward, either by trade or through restricted free agency. I see Hayward as a shooting guard, despite his size, and would rather the C's either deal Bradley (plus a pick) for him, or let AB walk this summer and sign Hayward to an offer sheet. The problem with the latter is that the Jazz could always match, leaving Boston without either (the C's would have to renounce Bradley to make a move on Hayward). That's why I'd look to make a move now, offer up AB and a 1st round pick (I'd offer the lesser of Boston's 2014 1st's, or a top 8 protected 2015 pick), locking Hayward into your future plans before we get to the draft.
Then the Celtics can add a small forward in this year's draft, and look to deal Jeff Green during the summer. I love the idea of having a Rondo-Hayward-Wiggins/Parker-Sullinger core, something that is definitely possible as the Celts continue their nosedive in the standings.
I know some people view Hayward as another "pretty good player", but I disagree completely. He's now averaging 17/5/5 for the Jazz, this despite a horrific early season shooting slump (for his career he's a well above average 3P shooter), and has helped lead Utah to an 11-11 record after their 1-14 start. Now all of that may lead the Jazz to refuse any deal for him, but they also wouldn't offer him anything close to the max last summer (4 years, $60 million), so it's possible they'd rather have Bradley at $7-8 million plus a pick.
The other option is dealing Jeff Green in season for an expiring contract (which will be very difficult), leaving the Celtics enough room to re-sign Bradley and make a big offer for Hayward. But that doesn't seem all that realistic, and I think Hayward fits much better at the 2 than the 3 (he's shifted more and more from SF to SG).
Hayward is a difference maker, and with Stevens in Boston, would seemingly be open to spending a long time in green. I say make the move.
I like Hayward, but I don't think he's anywhere near a guy you want to spend big money on. He's a nice piece, but far from a centerpiece. You have to be wary of a player putting up big numbers on a bad team; somebody has to score. He's also shooting just 31.7% from three this year. For a frame of reference, I'm not convinced I'd rather have him than Avery Bradley, and Bradley should be significantly cheaper.
A Hayward Stevens reunion sounds like a great Celtic fairy tale, and I'm in. Hayward is a do-it-all type of player averaging a very strong 17 5 and 5. The Butler alum's work ethic is elite, and I think he'd serve as a fun toy for Rondo. Hayward's versatility is excellent--he can run in transition and succeed in half court sets. Ultimately, I'd be interested to see how the acquisition of Hayward would go down. It would likely render either Bradley or Green expendable (or expended), depending on whether the C's play him as a 2 or a 3. Obviously this is all speculation, but I think Hayward is a guy worth spending on. Lastly, let's not forget the C's still have that 10 mil trade exception to use for a potential sign and trade.
Like the Transformers – which judging by his love for Starkraft might also be something he’s into – there’s more than meets the eye to Gordon Hayward. He Looks like the kid from your high school who never showered, he plays for the Utah Jazz, and he rarely plays in a game that broadcasts to a national televised audience. But make no mistake about it – Gordon Hayward is absolutely an explosive offensive talent. Take a look at the following video:
At 23 years old, Hayward would fit in Boston perfectly. He stretches the floor, moves the ball, and has the unique ability to create for himself as well as teammates off the wing. It’d be very, very interesting to see the maturation of Rondo with another playmaker on the floor.
Building forward with heady players like Rondo, Hayward and Sullinger would lead to some very, very fun basketball.
People who are opposed are likely going to point out that Hayward’s shootings numbers down, and that it’s easy to put up impressive stats on a bad team like Utah.
I’m not much of a fan of using stats as a way of truly evaluating a players ability, but his tells a bit of a story. Yes, Hayward’s shooting is drastically down –particularly his 3 point shooting (which is at a pretty poor .317% currently, down from .417% (!) last season) - but his assists are way up (5.4 this season compared to 3.1 last) which in my opinion shows the problem: Without a Point Guard for most of the season, Utah’s been too reliant on Hayward. Much like Paul Pierce last year when Rondo went out, The Jazz are frequently asking Hayward to do pretty much everything on the offensive end.
As far as the ‘good stats on a bad team’ thing; I definitely think that’s something that can happen. But I think you take a look at the video above, I think you can see that Hayward passes the eye ball test with flying colors. This isn’t an Evan Turner like situation, this guy is absolutely a difference maker.
I’m all for the Celtics making a full run at him.
What do you think? Should the Celtics offer that kind of money for Gordon Hayward? Comment below!