Most talks of late regarding the Boston Celtics‘ roster build for next season have surrounded potential blockbuster deals for stars such as Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard. Of course, such avenues are certainly worth exploring. With that said, team president Brad Stevens can’t work solely off of hypotheticals if he hopes to reinsert his Celtics back into the thick of things in the Eastern Conference next season.
In other words, far less noteworthy moves — preferably diamond in the rough type additions — need to be made this summer to both bolster and moderately overhaul the Celtics’ roster as a whole. According to Forbes Sports’ Chris Grenham, one such move could soon be underway, as the team is reportedly interested in signing EuroLeague forward Nigel Hayes, who they recently had in for a workout.
“Hayes impressed during the workout, and there is interest on both sides in regards to a roster spot — there have been no summer league discussions at this point,” Grenham tweeted. The Forbes columnist also added that the former Wisconsin Badger is currently receiving “serious overseas interest.”
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Haynes Has Blossomed into a Shooting Threat
Hayes, who starred for the Badgers from 2013-2017, served as the third-leading scorer for Wisconsin’s runner-up National Championship squad of 2014-15. Over his tenure in Madison, the swingman collected numerous accolades, from Big Ten Sixth-Man of the Year to Big Ten All-Freshman selection, First-Team All-Big Ten and Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year. Still, it wasn’t enough to get him drafted — with questions regarding his shooting ability playing a pivotal part.
Ultimately, Hayes found his way into the league but never truly settled in. He bounced around stops with the Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings, appearing in nine games and amassing a total of 28 points and 22 rebounds before taking his talents overseas.
Last season, as a member of the Zalgiris Kaunas of the Lithuanian Basketball League and EuroLeague, the 26-year-old Hayes averaged 9.8 points per game, 3.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 steals in 33 games. While serviceable, the numbers aren’t by any means earth-shattering. However, Hayes still managed to turn heads with improved shooting prowess.
Hayes knocked down 54-of-122 3-point attempts in 2020-21. His 44.3% shooting percentage from beyond the arc ranked within the top-21 of all EuroLeague players. He also connected on 44.3% of his field-goal attempts, while shooting 89.4% from the free-throw line.
Haynes Signing May Be Contingent on ‘Guaranteed Roster Spot’
While the two parties clearly share a mutual interest, whether or not the Celtics and Hayes actually join forces may ultimately come down to whether the team has a fully guaranteed roster spot available, per Yahoo Sports’ Keith Smith:
Per a source: There is mutual interest between the Boston Celtics and Nigel Hayes. It may come down to Boston having a guaranteed roster spot to offer Hayes. Celtics are tight on roster spots and Hayes has good offers overseas if he doesn’t have a guaranteed spot in the NBA.
Considering both Boston’s lack of spending money and limited depth at the four-spot, a low-cost addition such as Hayes would seemingly make sense for the Celtics.