On paper, this sounds too good to be true: Gordon Hayward returns to Indiana, the place he was born, raised, and starred in college. For Boston, it moves a player making $34.2 million next season (once Hayward opts into his contract, which he will) that Celtics’ fans are ready to move on from.
Of course, if something sounds too good to be true…
The rumor of some in the Indiana organization wanting to bring Hayward is still out there, as reported most recently by Ian Begley of SNY.TV in New York.
Something to keep an eye on once we find out when NBA teams can start making trades: some within the Pacers organization continue to have interest in trading for Celtics’ Gordon Hayward, per SNY sources.
The Indianapolis Star’s J. Michael has said before there was interest for a trade within the Pacers organization. .J. Michael noted that if the Pacers move on from one of their two big men — Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis — having Hayward allows the Pacers to play smaller, more versatile lineups. Which is exactly the style new Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren talked about playing.
To make this trade work, Victor Oladipo would have to head to Boston. Reportedly Oladipo wants out of Indiana (although he denies it). A trade of Oladipo, Doug McDermott, and maybe a pick would work financially as a trade.
Oladipo’s name is coming up in a lot of trade rumors, with teams from Los Angeles to New York, and many in between, interested. However, those teams also are cautious. Oladipo is coming back from a ruptured quadriceps tendon, he played in just 19 games last season and, while there were strong stretches, he has a long way to go to return to the All-NBA form that earned him the last big contract. Teams view him as a potential third option on an elite team, or a low-risk one year contract that could work out.
Both Hayward and Oladipo will be free agents in the summer of 2021, and Oladipo is thinking big money with his next contract, which could scare some teams off.
There are more rumors and spin out there than truth when it comes to trade talks right now, but there is at least some heat to the idea of a Hayward return to Indiana.