Get ready folks because on July 1st, shit will hit the fan. The draft is behind us and it’s now on to free agency. At the heart of that is the Boston Celtics, who have a chance to make not 1 but 2 big splashes. Of course that starts with Gordon Hayward. You know the story by now, Hayward is coming off a career year with the Utah Jazz and is now an unrestricted free agent. He played for the Celtic’s coach Brad Stevens back in college and still has a good relationship with him. The Celtics appear to have an in and now have the money to spend.
While the Celtics are the favorite to land Hayward, it’s still no guarantee. If the Celtics were able to land them him, that would be the 2nd straight year that they get a max free agent. That would be huge for the franchise as they continue to prove that they are becoming a legitimate destination. Even with that being said, the Celtics have even bigger fish to fry. As you know, Adrian Wojnarowski drops a “WOJ BOMB” on us during the draft saying that the Pacers and the Celtics were in serious Paul George trade talks. While nothing happened that night, the rumors and speculation has not stopped sense. See below….
— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) June 24, 2017
Getting Paul George wouldn't stop the Celtics from getting Gordon Hayward.
I believe they can play together.
— James Stewart (@IAmJamesStewart) June 23, 2017
— RealGM (@RealGM) June 23, 2017
Now you also know the story behind Paul George. He has told the Pacers that he will be leaving the team after next year. The LA native has also made it known that he wants to play his hometown Lakers. So knowing that, why on Earth would the Celtics trade for George? Because they have nothing to lose. The Pacers are only going to get 10 cents on the dollar for George and they know that. So here’s what you offer if you’re the Boston Celtics.
Celtics: Paul George
Pacers: Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Tyler Zeller, Laker’s 2018 Pick
That is by far the best offer that the Pacers are going to get for George. Bradley and Crowder will start for the Pacers next year and Zeller is an expiring contract. Plus if you are the Celtics, you throw in that Lakers 2018 pick to persuade them to not trade George to the Lakers and guarantee that they will suck. Now is that worth giving up if you’re the Celtics? Yes and it’s because of your depth and the assets you still have. Bradley is in the final year of his deal and it’s unlikely that he would be back. Also in that trade, the Celtics keep the 2018 Brooklyn pick and Jaylen Brown. So if George does bolt to LA in 2019, Brown can step in the starting lineup the following year. In the meantime, he and Jayson Tatum continue to learn under the guidance of George and Hayward. The reward is far greater than the risk. With all that being said, this what the depth chart would looks like (Name, age, money).
Isaiah Thomas 28 $6.2
Gordon Hayward 27 $26.5
Paul George 27 $19.3
Al Horford 31 $27.7
Ante Zizic 20 $1.3
Marcus Smart 23 $4.5
Terry Rozier 23 $1.9
Jaylen Brown 21 $4.9
Jayson Tatum 19 $4.7
Kelly Olynyk 26 $11.0*
That team beats Cleveland and should go to the NBA Finals. And even if they don’t beat Golden State, at least they’re there and the arrow is pointing up. So even if George leaves, the Celtics can still make moves. Plus it is worth noting that both #13 and #20 are available numbers for the possible future Celtics.
Written By: Steven Santoro (SVS_1993)