Report: Celtics interested in Gordon Hayward, but "very reluctant" to trade a first round pick

CSNNE's A. Sherrod Blakely is reporting a league source has told him the Celtics are interested in Utah forward Gordon Hayward.

While this news shouldn't come as a total shock, given the ties Hayward has with coach Brad Stevens from their Butler days, the surprising part is what Boston isn't willing to give up for the soon-to-be restricted free agent.

It would appear the one thing that might nudge Utah towards giving serious thought to dealing Hayward, would be if the Celtics were willing to part with at least one of their stockpiled first-round picks.

But two league sources, both having had recent conversations with the Celtics, told on Tuesday that Boston is "very reluctant" to part with any of their first-round picks in facilitating a deal.

In fact, Boston appears focused on adding more picks or assets with any deal they strike between now and the trade deadline.

Call me crazy, but it doesn't seem like Boston is too interested in Hayward if they aren't willing to part with one of the nine first round picks the team owns between now and 2018 to get him.

Of course, you have to consider the source and even if Ainge is telling opposing teams he doesn't want to trade a first rounder it could all be bluster to get more bang for his buck. Ainge could also have real hesitancy when it comes to giving up one of his precious picks for a guy in Hayward that is surely looking at a big pay day in the offseason.

But assuming the sources are telling the truth, this could be a troubling development for the Celtics' rebuild. Ainge might be "pick crazy" and is only looking to make trades that bring draft picks back to Boston, at the detriment of some deals teams are offering for good young talent. It makes you wonder what the point of the rebuild is if you aren't going to use the picks for established or up-and-coming talent.

In no way am I saying Ainge should trade for Hayward, but if a lowly first rounder is the only thing standing in the way of a trade to bring in a good, young, financially controlled starter, one would hope Ainge would have a receptive ear.

Again, this is absolutely in the grain-of-salt category of reports, but it is something to keep an eye on. Draft picks are an asset, but they are one you eventually have to use. Don't expect 17 rookies to come walking through the door over the next several years with all the picks the Celtics own in the first and second round.

Hopefully, this is all par for the course and Blakely's "sources" are people on teams with nothing to offer Boston long-term so it only makes sense Ainge wouldn't trade a first rounder for what they have. Only time will tell.

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