The Boston Celtics reportedly have big plans to upgrade their team that include pairing Utah Jazz All-Star Gordon Hayward with Indiana Pacers sensation Paul George.
The rumors regarding Gordon Hayward and his impending free agency have been coming full force for a number of weeks and likely will continue to do so until the Utah Jazz All-Star has officially reached his decision. Although it’s essentially common knowledge by now that the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are the two teams outside of the Jazz that are front runners to land him, more and more specific developments continue to surface.
And the most recent comes from none other than The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski who’s known for crushing dreams with his devastating “Woj Bombs.” It appears that the Celtics are looking to create a super team of sorts of their own as according to a recent Woj report, the Celtics are working to land both Gordon Hayward and Paul George this offseason.
This is certainly intriguing for a number of reasons. Not only are Hayward and George both similar players taken consecutively in the 2010 NBA Draft (9th and 10th, respectively), but both are budding stars in their prime and George has previously expressed a desire to play alongside the Jazz All-Star.
Although PG and Gordon are both primarily small forwards, both are versatile to the point where they could coexist with one another with PG playing the two or three and Hayward playing the three or four. It’s hard to say just how well the two of them would coexist with one another, let alone with ball-dominant Isaiah Thomas also in the mix, but the talent there certainly would seem to be enough to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Nevertheless, before Jazz fans get too nervous about the possibility of the Celtics wooing Gordon Hayward away by dangling in front of him the opportunity to play alongside Paul George, it should be noted that even Wojnarowski himself was quick to point out that it would be extremely difficult for Boston to make this plan come together.
Not only would the Celtics have to do a significant amount of roster maneuvering, including trading away much of their depth, but given that sources have indicated that Boston would likely need to sign George AFTER getting an agreement from Hayward for salary cap reasons, there’s a good chance that the Indiana Pacers would lack the patience to wait on Boston before trading away their All-Star.
The Pacers won’t know what direction to go next season until they’ve completed the inevitable and done away with their disgruntled star. Therefore, it stands to reason that they’ll want to move him as quickly as possible, including possibly before free agency even starts. If they wait until after and then Gordon Hayward drags his feet on a decision, then the Pacers could very well miss out on several key opportunities to get a nice return for George and forfeit a crack at several formerly available free agents.
And if at the end of the day Hayward decided to stay in Utah rather than join the Celtics, then Indiana would risk leaving themselves high and dry.
Between that likely possibility, the financial strain that the Celtics would have to incur both this offseason and in coming years, and the fact that they’d have to move several of their contributing players, it would seem that getting both George and Hayward to come to Boston would be a long-shot. Several NBA experts, including ESPN’s Zach Lowe, have agreed with that sentiment as well.
So while the thought of a Boston team consisting of Gordon Hayward and Paul George is an intriguing thought for Celtics fans and a frightening one for Jazz fans, at the end of the day this is likely little more than a pipe dream. Boston may very well be working to see how they can make this happen, as sources have indicated, but it’s far from the most likely outcome.
And even if the Celtics are committed to making it happen, there’s still an exceptional chance that – to the joy of Jazz fans everywhere – Hayward plays the spoiler and instead opts to simply stay put with the team that drafted him.