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Hey, Gordon Hayward used to play for Brad Stevens, clearly he'll be a Celtic someday, right?

Or so the theory goes.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

I've avoided this topic for a few days now, but since we'll be playing Utah Wednesday night, we might as well talk about it.

Gordon Hayward has turned into a very promising young NBA player but the Jazz were not able to come to an agreement with him on a contract extension (much like the Celtics didn't with Avery Bradley).  So he'll be a restricted free agent next year.  Also, as you may have noticed, Hayward used to play for Brad Stevens at Butler.  So there's at least a sense that the Celtics might be interested in Hayward at some point - either through trade or free agency.

Marc Stein goes a step further and predicts that the Celtics will be one of the teams that could make Gordon a max offer next summer.

Eight Fearless Predictions for 2013-14 - Marc Stein Blog - ESPN

You'll recall that it's not too far in the past that Eric Gordon landed a four-year max offer sheet in restricted free agency from Phoenix amid serious questions about his knees. The Suns and Boston Celtics -- just to name two franchises known to be big Hayward admirers with Jeff Hornacek and Brad Stevens running their respective benches -- are among those projected to have the cap space to put an uncomfortable offer on the table. Utah, of course, will have plenty of its own cap space to match a max offer if necessary, but doing a deal with Derrick Favors when Hayward might be an even bigger part of Utah’s future ... struck me as curious to say the least.

My issue with this is that I don't see how it works out.  If Utah likes Hayward (and I think they do) then they won't let him go very easily.  They already let Jefferson and Milsap go without getting anything in return, in part because they wanted to have the money to sign guys like this in the future (and add pieces around him).  So I don't know why they'd give up on him without the Celtics having to overpay (either in money or trade assets) to get him.

Update: Here's what Zach Lowe had to say about Hayward.

The murky waters of restricted free agency are on their way to 2014 - Grantland

If Hayward jumps a level this season, the Jazz might well value him at something like $12 million per year. A rival team drooling over that jump in play might hit Hayward with the dreaded max offer sheet, but is Utah really going to let Hayward walk away over a $2 million valuation gap? The Jazz are about as flexible as it gets, flush with cap space even after extending Favors. They can afford to swallow hard and overpay.


The Jazz might be betting Hayward's value comes in closer to the DeRozan/Gallinari/Jeff Green range - between $9 million and $11 million per season.

Personally I don't know Hayward's game well enough to guess what kind of trade package I'd give up for him or how much of the farm I'd be willing to bet on him this summer.  So I'll just open this up to comments and see where it goes.

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