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CelticsBlog roundtable: Gordon Hayward’s future

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Is Gordon Hayward a trade chip or an integral piece to a championship? CelticsBlog discusses.

2019 NBA Playoffs: Indiana Pacers Vs Boston Celtics Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

After former CelticsBlogger and The Athletic’s Jared Weiss reported that Victor Oladipo is interested in leaving the Pacers (and possibly Myles Turner, too), armchair GM’s started hitting the trade machine to work out a deal to send Gordon Hayward back to his hometown. Hayward has a $34 million player option that many believe he’ll most likely pick up...unless he signs an extension to stay in Boston long term.

Should Danny Ainge consider trading Hayward if he picks up his PO? Does a team-friendly extension make sense with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as the cornerstones of the franchise?

Bill Sy: Maybe I’m a sucker for the narrative, but I’m still all-in on “Gordon Hayward and Brad Stevens have unfinished business.” I think Danny Ainge offers Hayward a three-year extension that gives the Celtics a little more wiggle room so that they can complete their mission and raise Banner 18.

Jeff Clark: I am actually a big believer in Gordon Hayward as an excellent piece of next year’s puzzle. However, I’m not going to dismiss the idea of moving him for a few pieces if the right deal comes along. It isn’t ideal to have a “best 5” that can’t sustainably have success on the court. It isn’t ideal to have one of your highest paid players as a 4th option at best and frequently injured. So I get the idea behind moving Gordon and his contract. However, it has to be for a package that makes sense in the near and long term. Coming up with that package is difficult at best (believe me, I’ve tried, and hilarity ensued on the staff Slack page).

Adam Taylor: I think Hayward’s versatility makes him a key component to the Celtics chances of success in the short term (assuming he stays healthy). Ideally Hayward would accept a team friendly extension to gain long-term stability. However, this isn’t likely.

Personally, I don’t see any trade that provides Boston with a positive ROI by moving on from Hayward. If Hayward did choose to remain in Boston on a more manageable deal, I envision him becoming the de facto 6th man, leading the bench into the latter part of his career.

Los Angeles Clippers v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Jeremy Stevens: I guess I just don’t see the flexibility with Hayward that other people see. He’s got one more year of his huge contract he can opt into, which he’s going to opt into because nobody is going to out-bid Boston for the right to take on his injury history. The state of the Celtics beyond next season is entirely unforeseeable especially given the half the league changes teams every two years.

Drafting up trades to break up an incredibly strong starting lineup is entirely pointless to me, not to mention it might be Boston giving up additional assets in order to unload Hayward just for the opportunity to maybe get better and still be in the luxury tax. Do team-friendly deals make sense? Yes. It’s a question that answers itself by labelling the contract “team-friendly.” Boston has maintained a ton of flexibility over the years, but they won’t have as much in the near future with Kemba, Hayward, Tatum, and Brown all earning a considerable amount of money next year.

Jeff Clark: The way I see this playing out is that he picks up his option, the team makes moves on the edges this offseason, and they head into next season (whenever that starts) with Hayward in place. Then we’ll spend the first half of the season hearing trade rumors and trade ideas revolving around Hayward.

Keith Smith: I’m in complete agreement with Jeff. Hayward will be on the team after picking up his option. If he gets even slightly nicked it will spark a round of “Boston needs to trade Hayward!” discussion. He’ll be in every rumor for every disgruntled and even some perfectly gruntled stars all the way until the trade deadline. And then, whenever the trade deadline is, it will pass with Hayward still on the team and playing productive basketball.

Jeff Clark: Unless he’s hurt. And there’s the rub.

So for anyone that is open to the idea of trading Hayward (regardless of when) what kind of trade package are you looking for in return?

Greg Brueck-Cassoli: The answer to the question of whether or not a team should trade a player always depends on what’s coming back. As my esteemed colleagues have mentioned it’s not easy to come up with realistic trades that yield enough value to send Hayward packing. I’d hold onto him unless a really athletic defensive-minded big becomes available. Boston is a nightmare to defend when all of Walker, Brown, Tatum, and Hayward are healthy. They shouldn’t break that up without careful consideration. Just for the sake of stirring the pot: I’d look to move Smart before dealing Hayward. (ducks)

Bill Sy: Hush now, GBC. But if push comes to trade, the ideal partner for Ainge is a team trying to 1) clear contracts who has 2) middle class contracts to deal. That could be Dallas. Some combination of Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleiber, Seth Curry, and Dwight Powell could work.

Keith Smith: Alas, the Celtics have a pretty big roster spot trade issue with a trade that brings in 3-for-1, which it would almost have to be. The roster crunch strikes again!

Bill Sy: So, let’s go nuts and make it a 7-for-3 deal.

Bobby Manning: I’m all in on a change that could help the Celtics improve inside, especially seeing how the Best 5 failed this year in critical moments. That said, if Hayward is healthy and playing at the same level he was this season, I don’t see how Boston could get peak value for him with his free agency looming next summer.

Ball-handling, shot distribution, and two-way success worked when Boston had its core 5 starting, which didn’t happen often. There’s at least a chance Hayward remains long-term at a smaller annual value and that’s more worthwhile for the Celtics than any potential trade return. Think Hayward’s injury prone? Victor Oladipo played 54 games over the last two years, while Hayward shot 50-38-85 last year while ranking in the 90th percentile as a pick-and-roll ball handler. Keep him around.