Gordon Hayward 2.0?: Versatile Forward Named Celtics Trade Target

Kyle Anderson floated as Celtics trade target

Getty Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angels Lakers attempts a dunk against Jaren Jackson Jr. #13 and Kyle Anderson #1 of the Memphis Grizzlies.

With All-Star weekend underway, trade chatter surrounding the Boston Celtics has reached a new apex. With a hefty $28.5 million traded player exception at their disposal, many are itching for Danny Ainge to pull the trigger on a deal. Names such as Magic All-Star Nikola Vucevic and Mavericks big Kristaps Porzingis have been floated as prime acquisitions for the Cs. Yet, the more likely target may be one that offers up a similar skillset to the player responsible for supplying the Celtics with their record-setting TPE in the first place.

ESPN’s Tim Bontemps has reported that “Rival executives believe they [the Celtics] are hunting for a player who can play either forward spot and provide some scoring punch — exactly the kind of player they lost when Hayward left.”

While a talent such as Detroit Pistons standout Jerami Grant – a player Boston is rumored to be heavily interested in – would be an ideal player to fill these desires, the likelihood the team could land him at a non-roster gutting price seems unlikely.

In that case, a far less heralded target such as Memphis Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson – who Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley recently highlighted in his updated trade targets list for Boston – could be a far more realistic option.

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Kyle Anderson’s Versatility Could Make Him an Ideal Target for Cs

While Buckley isn’t ready to proclaim Anderson Gordon Hayward 2.0 quite yet, he does believe the ever-versatile forward could man a similar multifaceted role in the Celtics’ rotation.

Remember how much mileage the Celtics used to get out of Gordon Hayward as a swingman with size, scoring punch and a knack for finding open teammates. We’re not saying Kyle Anderson is on his way to becoming Hayward 2.0, but he could handle a similar role while perking up the club’s defensive versatility.

The 6-foot-9-inch New York native is enjoying a career season in 2020-21, or better yet “the rare seventh-season breakout,” as the B/R columnist so cleverly put it. Over 30 games this year, Anderson is averaging career-highs in points (13.4), rebounds (6.1) and assists (3.5). The former number is an 8.1 increase from his modest 5.3 ppg career average entering the season. Furthermore, he’s knocking down a personal best 38.0% of his three-point attempts and has shot 50.5% from the field over the last four years. Add in the fact that he possesses a 7-foot-2-inch wingspan, and you essentially have Danny Ainge’s trade preference – “shooting with size.”

Anderson offers up an interchangeable skillset, capable of shifting between both forward positions. He’s been part of a winning organization, spending five seasons in San Antonio, and has experience as a starter (198 career starts) and coming off the bench.


Is Anderson Worth the Cost?

The short answer here is yes. While the 27-year-old’s increased production has certainly elevated his stock, he’d still likely come at fraction of the price compared to some of the more notable names Boston has been linked to in recent months.

As we touched on previously, a move for a player such as Jerami Grant would be a far more flashy deal, one that would get fans excited but also greatly alter the makeup of the roster. On the other hand, dealing for a player such as Anderson would be far less disruptive to the current team.

In reality, it simply depends on how Ainge wants to play things. If the President of Basketball Operations believes he needs to shake things up for the fourth-placed Celtics, a more drastic trade is warranted. Yet, if he believes that the team’s recent four-game win streak is a sign of things to come as they continue to get healthy, adding a puzzle piece such as Anderson may ultimately be the route to go.

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