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Indiana Pacers rumored to have interest in trading for Gordon Hayward

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Could Hayward be heading home?

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Five Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA offseason may be officially underway, but for most of us, the fun doesn’t being until trades can be made. Alas, some pesky rules aren’t going to stop the rumor mill from churning out narratives as players, agents, and front offices alike begin to work the system.

While most of these rumors are simply conjecture, from time to time a source with credibility will drop a golden nugget of information that sets the NBA world alight.

Gordon Hayward has a $34 million player option that he can choose to opt into or leave on the table. Despite his injury riddled tenure in Boston, Hayward is capable of performing to an All-Star level should he stay healthy.

As Ian Begley notes, “it’s hard to see Hayward opting out of his deal without the assurance of a long-term extension in place.” With so much money on the table, and the uncertainty surrounding the impending cap, a move of this magnitude would require certain promises to be met.

The report also states that “it’s unknown what Boston would want in return for Hayward — or if the club is even open to moving him.”

While there is no definitive answer to who the players heading to Boston could be, rumors have been circulating surrounding the happiness of Victor Oladipo. Entering the final year of his contract, Oladipo is earning $21 million next season, meaning additional players would be required to get the deal done.

The most likely addition to any trade discussions between the two teams would be big man Myles Turner.

Turner is scheduled to earn $17.5 million a year, with three more years guaranteed and could provide the Celtics with the big man they’ve been yearning for. Turner’s numbers took a dip this year, partly due to his new role operating alongside the ever-impressive Domantas Sabonis.

Adding Turner to the deal would require another piece being sent towards Indiana to match salaries, but the Texan big man isn’t the only enticing option on the Pacers roster.

Doug McDermott would be an ideal acquisition to shore up the Celtics bench, having shot 43.5% from deep on 4.3 attempts per game this season. McDermott earns a more modest salary of $7,333,333 and is under contract until the end of next season.

Alternatively, the Celtics could look for “Bubble Jordan” in TJ Warren to be a makeweight in any deal involving Hayward. Warren is earning $11,750,000 next season, with his salary set to rise to $12,690,000 for the 2021-22 season. Warren had an excellent playoff showing for Indiana, averaging 20 points, 3 assists, and 6.3 rebounds over four games.

The picture will become clearer in the coming weeks, but with the Pacers acquiring a new head coach, making a statement splash in the trade market isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.

Hayward ended the season averaging 17.5 points, 4.1 assists, and 6.7 rebounds over 52 regular season games.