The Celtics Have Got Their Guy!
After a day of rumors, Twitter refreshes, and even some hours of what looked to be #Fakenews the Celtics landed Gordon Hayward....Officially. The 6'8 wing player who originally played for Coach Brad Stevens in 2010 cited that he has unfinished business and that is to win a championship. Even the most die hard Celtics fans are pumping the breaks on banner 18, but realize they may not have to pump them too long. The Celtics landed a big fish in Gordon Hayward and he adds such a desperate dynamic to this team and that is scoring. The Celtics can now have at least one shot creator and volume scorer on the floor at all times, if Brad wants to go that way.
There was a lot of times last year where the Celtics would have long scoring droughts because Isaiah Thomas was getting swarmed on defense or he was on the bench. Now with Hayward, the Celtics will be able to space the floor and avoid having Thomas be doubled teamed as much. When Al Horford arrived, fans instantly saw that he created more space for Thomas to operate and become a consistent 20 (sometimes even 30 or even 53) point scorer. Now the Celtics have added a guy that can shoot, create his own shot, and move all around the court.
Hayward is coming off a career year with the Utah Jazz. He averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and had a players efficient rating of 22.2. All three of those categories marks career bests for him. The Celtics do land Hayward, but due to salary cap restrictions they will have to lose some players. The first step already happened and that was to rescind Kelly Olynyk's qualifying offer making him an unrestricted free agent. The second step will be to renounce all rights to the Celtics free agents, which is not any huge loss. The last two steps though sting a bit.
The Celtics have to part ways with Jordan Mickey and Demitrius Jackon. Neither player had any impact last year, but they are still young players that you will not even get a second round pick back for them. Lastly, the most noteworthy step is to either trade Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, or Marcus Smart. All three players have reasons to move. Crowder could be the player to move due to the fact outside of him playing at power forward in small ball lineups there will not be many wing minutes for him. Bradley could be the player to move because he is an unrestricted free agent next season and it is unknown if the Celtics want him long term over Marcus Smart, Smart could move because he is a restricted free agent next season, and has struggled to find a consistent jumper in three years. Moving Terry Rozier makes no sense because it unfortunately puts the Celtics a million short of having the max space for Hayward.
Unfortunately for Ainge, at least one of those key pieces will be moving and the league knows it, therefore Ainge will not have much leverage in a deal with only one player and nothing else. It would not be surprising for AInge to package two of the three or include a couple picks with one player to get someone back that can help this team this year and beyond. Losing those players above hurt, but it is the cost of landing a superstar in the salary cap era and the Celtics definitely did that with Gordon Hayward.
Credit: Celtics Direct Contributor Matt Poirier, Follow him on Twitter @BSTRONG415 for all your latest Celtics and other Boston sports news.