Whelp, that didn’t take very long.
Hours after the final buzzer of the Miami’s Heat’s 125-113 Game 6 Eastern Conference series-clinching win, a report surrounding Victor Oladipo looking to move on from the Indiana Pacers surfaced, and it was immediately connected to Boston Celtics guard Gordon Hayward.
According to The Athletic’s Jared Weiss, the Pacers guard wants out. Oladipo, who has one year left on his contract, would give any contending team in the East a significant boost, especially the Celtics, but with only a year left on his deal and coming off an injury-plagued season, is Oladipo – a possible one-year rental – truly worth it?
No, but there’s more.
According to Weiss, Pacers center Myles Turner is reportedly considering following in Oladipo’s footsteps.
“Hayward won’t be opting out of his contract unless he has a long-term extension in place, which will be hard for a 30-year-old with a concerning injury history,” Weiss said. “Indiana is still a home for the Haywards, and with Victor Oladipo looking to move on this offseason, according to sources, Myles Turner possibly in the same boat, there could be an opportunity for Ainge to move Hayward and the abundance of draft picks in his war chest in a mutually agreeable way.”
Hayward’s Indiana background would also be a driving force, along with the Pacers’ seemingly bright future, for both sides to come to an agreement. The Pacers finished the regular season 8-2 in their final 10 games but entered their opening-round series without Domantis Sabonis and a banged-up Oladipo, they were swept by the Heat.
One of two things is most likely going to happen: either Hayward opts-in to his final year and becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2021 or the Celtics and Hayward will restructure a new deal. But will Ainge ultimately trade it either way?
Victor Oladipo & Myles Turner To Boston?
Some contending teams itching for a final piece to put them over the top would take a risk on Oladipo if it meant a shot at a championship while other teams such as the Celtics, could feel confident enough to say ‘let’s just run it back,’ and return with pretty much the same roster for the 2020-2021 season. However, if Turner, in fact, wants out, it’s possible the Celtics would swoop in.
Turner averaged 12.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks this season for the Pacers. He’s a young rim protector with plenty of upsides.
Boston Celtics’ Size & Toughness
Oladapio’s bounce-back year from a leg injury had its bright spots, such as his final 10 regular-season games – when he averaged 19.7 points while shooting 45.5% from the floor, 43.8% from three – but his series against the Heat left fans wanting more. Still, if you’re Ainge you’re at least intrigued.
When you consider Boston’s weaknesses and what Brad Stevens said about Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo exposing the Celtics’ size and toughness up front, 24-year-old Turner would be an upgrade at the center position. We could ultimately see Ainge wait for a better offer to come along, this upcoming NBA off-season could be wackier than most anticipate or Ainge could wait to trade away Hayward mid-season.
Either way, if both sides don’t come to terms on a new deal this winter and Hayward cashes in his option, Ainge is going to be hard-pressed to swap that $34 million before the trade deadline.