Former Celtics Max Player Considered ‘Plan B’ for Rival

Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtics

Getty INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 10: Gordon Hayward #20 of the Boston Celtics watches the action against the Indiana Pacers.

The Boston Celtics could see a familiar face when they face the Miami Heat this upcoming season. After efforts to acquire Donovan Mitchell and Kevin Durant have proven to be fruitless, the Heat may be looking toward their secondary plans. Former Celtic Gordon Hayward is considered to be the Heat’s Plan B in case their other plans fall through.

“I think a guy they will keep an eye on is Gordon Hayward,” a league executive told Heavy’s Sean Deveney.

Charlotte’s offseason has been quite interesting between Miles Bridges getting arrested and charged with domestic violence and the re-hiring of Steve Clifford. The executive said the team may have to consider what direction they want to go in next after all that’s happened.

“Charlotte’s in a tough position with the (Miles) Bridges thing, they have (Steve) Clifford coming in, they’re in a position to rest things a little bit around LaMelo Ball. Hayward has two years left,” the exec explained.

If the Hornets decide to rebuild, there’d be very little use in keeping 32-year-old Hayward around if that were the case. This draft class has highly touted prospects like Victor Wembanyana and Scoot Henderson. Trading Hayward, among others, would help them get one of the higher prospects from the 2023 class.

The only question is, what deal could Miami construe to acquire Hayward’s services?

Exec Lays Out Possible Hayward Trade

Trading Jimmy Butler or Bam Adebayo is out of the question for Miami if their intent to trade for Hayward is to get better. The league executive explained what players and draft picks would be involved in a deal.

“If you want to give up [Tyler] Herro before you pay him and you want to move [Duncan] Robinson, you would have to add a pick, but those two guys and Omer [Yurtseven], that might be enough to get Hayward if the Hornets decide to reconfigure.”

Robinson has a very expensive contract. He will start the second year of what is a five-year, $90 million contract extension he signed with Miami in 2021. He also does not currently bring much value as a player since he was in and out of Miami’s playoff rotation during the 2022 NBA Playoffs. Does a package of Herro, Yurtseven, and a pick justify absorbing such a contract to get rid of Hayward on Charlotte’s end?

The executive later explained why Miami should do such a deal.

“It’s a short-term move for Miami, but they need to make their move now. You can play him at the 3 and go big or go small at the 4. He’s a guy they’ve had interest in before.”

Hayward had taken a free agency meeting with Miami during the summer of 2017. Although he chose Boston, Hayward was impressed with how they pitched him.

Hayward Praised Miami’s Pitch

Hayward went on Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast following his decision to sign with Boston in free agency, which was later transcribed by Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman. Hayward talked about how convincing Pat Riley and the others in Miami’s organization were when pitching him to join the team.

“I think the text that I sent to Mark was, ‘Wow, that’s going to be really tough to beat,’ or something like that,” Hayward told Wojnarowski.

Miami’s, or specifically Riley’s, pitch to Hayward gave him “chills.” Hayward was so impressed that he even wanted to put a Miami jersey on right then and there. “Everyone’s wearing their ring, too. Everybody on the staff was. And so that’s the moment where you’re like, ‘Wow, that’s really cool,’ an I-want-to-put-on-the-jersey-right-now type feeling.”

Hayward later went on to pick Boston to re-join his former college coach Brad Stevens anyway, although that union only lasted three years.

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