During each of the last two seasons, the Boston Celtics have stayed quiet at the trade deadline while other Eastern Conference contenders have added quality depth. From the 2017-18 Cavaliers dealing away several players to Milwaukee and Toronto both acquiring key bigs, Boston hasn’t helped itself in its quest for banner-18.
But this year that looks set to change. Although Boston is buried in the mix of a tight Eastern Conference playoff picture, one new addition may be enough to propel the young Celtics over the hump. However, it’s not going to come without sacrifice.
The Celtics don’t have a lot of salary cap space to play around with, meaning they may have to trade one of their big-money players. One name that’s been tossed around a bit has been Gordon Hayward. The Celtics signed Hayward during the 2017 offseason and he looked like the missing piece for winning a title.
But he injured himself in his first regular-season game, missing an entire season, then took a while to ease into the swing of things during his second year. Hayward has been better this year, but given Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have developed into budding stars, he has become expendable.
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Would Celtics Be Willing to Part with Hayward?
Deals are hard to come by it seems this trade season, but there are a few Boston could make that would involve Hayward. Giving up Hayward wouldn’t be easy or necessarily something the Celtics would be willing to do.
Hayward was brought in by Boston to provide a veteran presence and offensive versatility, something he has been able to do when healthy and at 100 percent. Averaging 16.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game this year, Hayward has quietly been one of the more productive members of this Celtics team.
Though it has been widely talked about, the Celtics, executives and players alike, don’t seem to agree with the idea.
If They Do, Who Could Boston Bring In?
Using the NBA trade machine courtesy of ESPN, there are a few possible centers Boston could find by using Hayward as trade bait. Here are some of the options:
Hassan Whiteside – The NBA’s fourth-highest rebounder this season, the 30-year-old veteran could be an intriguing possibility for the Celtics. With Portland potentially looking for a wing or forward who could help on offense, the Celtics want a productive big man. Both teams would get what they’re looking for with a deal. The trade, according to ESPN, would give the Celtics three additional wins.
Andre Drummond – An ideal scenario, acquiring Drummond wouldn’t be as cut-and-dry as it seems. According to Chris Grenham of Boston.com, the Celtics would “likely be forced to re-up the 26-year-old on a long-term deal as well, something that would not benefit their future.”
It’s worth noting that, despite Hayward’s big contract, this deal can’t be completed as a swap. Detroit is hard-capped like the Celtics, meaning a second salary from each team would have to be included in the trade. Either way, bringing Drummond in and losing Hayward wouldn’t make the Celtics any better.
So with multiple players from both sides needed, the Celtics may also have to part with someone like Semi Ojeleye or Grant Williams to get someone like Markieff Morris or Sekou Doumbouya. Here’s what a deal could look like.