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Report: Celtics and Hornets engaged in sign-and-trade talks for Gordon Hayward

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It’s still possible that Danny Ainge didn’t lose a max player for nothing.

Boston Celtics v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

The Boston Celtics are currently in the process of trying to not lose Gordon Hayward for nothing on the heels of him agreeing to a 4-year/$120M deal with the Charlotte Hornets. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the two teams are engaged in sign-and-trade talks.

Currently, it appears the holdup is finding a landing spot for Nic Batum’s $27M contract. A team like the Oklahoma City Thunder is in prime position to swoop in and facilitate, but naturally, they’ll need to be compensated for that. Who does the bulk of the compensation? Maybe that’s what the teams are talking about right this moment!

A sign-and-trade makes sense for both side. For the Celtics, they’ll get a ginormous trade exception to use in trades for the next calendar year and won’t have lost Gordon Hayward for nothing. For the Hornets, this would mean avoiding having to waive-and-stretch Nic Batum’s contract at $9M over the next three years, effectively making Hayward’s contract almost $40M for the first three years of his deal.

These two teams worked out a sign-and-trade for Terry Rozier last year, so there’s no reason why they can’t play nice together. The report that they’re currently engaged in talks also explains why we’ve heard next to nothing since Hayward and the Hornets agreed half a week ago.

Armed with a TPE, the Celtics could pursue a number of players to replace some of (or perhaps even more of) Gordon Hayward’s production in the starting lineup. My early bet to replace him is Marcus Smart after what we saw in the playoffs, but that comes at a cost to the second unit. The Celtics are also not obligated to use their TPE until it expires a full calendar year later. That would allow the Cs to keep their options open as the season progresses and the next offseason comes.

Whatever happens, if a sign-and-trade is agreed to, it gives Boston flexibility – more flexibility than they’d have if Hayward left for nothing.

This sign-and-trade has not been agreed to yet, so it could still not happen. However, it’s in the best interests of both the Hornets and the Celtics to make it happen somehow.