The NBA draft has come and gone and for all the speculation about what the Celtics might do with three first-round picks coming off a trip to the Eastern Conference finals, the team wound up with a very conventional night. As for the most pressing matter for the organization—the status of forward Gordon Hayward, who has a player option worth $34 million for next season—not a peep.
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Well, there was one major peep from a former Celtic, center-turned-talking-head Kendrick Perkins, who knows exactly just what the Celtics ought to do with Hayward: Trade him to Oklahoma City for center Steven Adams and most certainly not Pacers center Myles Turner, the deal that has been most frequently discussed.
“I’m not a fan of Myles Turner,” Perkins said on NBC Sports in Boston. “I don’t think he fits well with the coach (Brad Stevens) of the Boston Celtics, I don’t think he fits well with the team. Now, Danny can make it happen—I know he makes a lot of money—but if he can go out there and get big Steven Adams, ooh! Ooh! That’s it right there.”
"I've been hearing rumors about getting Myles Turner & I'm not a fan of Myles Turner…but if [Danny Ainge] can get Steven Adams…"
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) November 19, 2020
Gordon Hayward Unlikely to OK a Trade to OKC
A trade for Adams is easier said than done, of course, though not impossible. It was clear on Wednesday night during the NBA’s draft (and before that as well) that the Thunder are willing to tear up the current roster and start over with a slew of young assets. They have dealt away Chris Paul this week, and also traded Danny Green, the player they had acquired from the Lakers for Dennis Schroder on Sunday, to Philadelphia for Al Horford and a draft pick.
Sam Presti on the CP3 trade: “Chris left a legacy in our organization in a very brief amount of time. He’s going to do a marvelous job uplifting the Phoenix group. Abdel (Nader), I want to make sure I acknowledge him. He’s worked himself into being a really solid NBA player.”
— Erik Horne (@ErikkHorne) November 19, 2020
They are trying to use forward Danilo Gallinari in a sign-and-trade and could look to flip other assets, like Horford and forward Kelly Oubre.
That leaves Adams, a player the front office in Oklahoma City loves. But if there is to be a true teardown, Adams would have to be on the market, too.
The problem for Boston is that, because Hayward has a player option (and has until 5 p.m. on Thursday to make a decision on it), he has some control over where he plays next season. And he won’t have much of a desire to opt in, making himself eligible for a trade, if the Celtics’ plan is to send him to Oklahoma City, a rebuilding team.
The Celtics also entered Wednesday with some draft capital, having three picks in the first round. They used the 14th pick to select shooter Aaron Nesmith out of Vanderbilt, then made an outlier pick with No. 26, taking Oregon guard Payton Pritchard, another quality perimeter marksman.
Rather than using the 30th pick, the Celtics dealt it to the Grizzlies.
That draft capital is now gone. Boston now owns its own picks and a future pick from Memphis, and that’s all. The Thunder want draft picks, and the Celtics would have to dip into their own stockpile to get Adams—only if Hayward agreed to such a deal.
Kendrick Perkins Played With Steven Adams
Perkins is a former teammate of Adams with Oklahoma City, playing a season-and-a-half with Adams early in his career.
It is not the first time he has suggested the Celtics make a move for Adams, having done so also back in January, before the league’s trade deadline.
The Celtics are missing one piece and that’s a Center that can anchor their defense!!! Who says No? Gordon Hayward for Steven Adams?
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) January 23, 2020
That proposal went nowhere, of course. This one is likely to do the same. No doubt, Adams’ toughness and rebounding (he averaged 10.9 points and 9.3 rebounds last season) would fit well with the Celtics’ lineup, but because Hayward would have to sign off, getting him to Boston would prove difficult.