The Boston Celtics are in a great spot. After struggling a bit, they’ve bounced back in a big way and have now won five games in a row. They are currently sitting comfortably atop the Eastern Conference standings with a 31-12 record, putting them three games ahead of the second-place Brooklyn Nets.
However, while they may be in a good position, that doesn’t mean they won’t look to make additions this year. Staying active at the trade deadline is one option, but the more likely choice could be to attack the buyout market. According to a fan who wrote into MassLive’s Brian Robb’s mailbag, a player the Celtics should look at is Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward.
“Question 2. Buyout market………Gordon Hayward filling the Blake Griffen insurance role at wing?,” proposed Phil D.
But while bringing back Hayward on a small contract could be a solid idea, Robb shut it down almost immediately.
“As far as the buyout market goes, I expect the Celtics to be active if they still haven’t filled their open roster spot via trade. Don’t expect Hayward to be available though, he still has one more year on that deal (via a player option) and he’s not turning that kind of cash down given how his last couple of years have gone.”
Hayward is under contract in Charlotte this year and next year for roughly $30.07 and $31.50 million, respectively. The Hornets are struggling mightily this year, though, so buying Hayward out could make sense. That being said, as noted by Robb, it’s highly unlikely that he leaves money on the table.
The veteran played well during his final year in Boston, but injuries have consistently gotten in his way. So far this season, Hayward has appeared in just 21 of the Hornets’ 43 games and has played 32.7 minutes per contest. He’s averaged 13.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game on 42.3% shooting from the field and 30.0% shooting from three-point range.
Josh Hart Suggested as Potential Celtics Trade Target
While bringing Hayward on board may be an unrealistic possibility, it’s far from the only option Boston will have this year. As noted, the trade deadline will give the Celtics another chance to make additions to their current roster.
According to Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston, one player the Celtics could potentially trade for is Josh Hart of the Portland Trail Blazers.
“Given Hart’s hefty contract, the C’s likely would have to trade Gallinari and one or two other players to absorb his salary,” Hartwell wrote. “But Hart would be a seamless fit on Boston’s second unit as a well-rounded wing who can shoot, facilitate and grab rebounds. A bench led by Brogdon and Hart would be quite formidable.”
Zach Collins Floated as Potential Celtics Trade Target
In addition to the idea of Hart, another player floated as a potential target for Boston is San Antonio Spurs big man Zach Collins. Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report mentioned him as an option.
“Adding one more frontcourt piece for depth would be ideal, especially as 36-year-old Al Horford is still averaging over 30 minutes a game…Collins is having a sneaky-good season for the San Antonio Spurs,” Swartz wrote on January 11.