With one full day of free agency almost in the books, word is leaking out that the Boston Celtics have already contacted Utah Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward, among others.
I know an awful lot of Celtics fans want to see Hayward reunited with his former college coach, Brad Stevens, in Boston, and one would think that Hayward would feel the same. After all, Stevens coached Butler to not one but two consecutive NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship games, the first of which was a Hayward bank-shot away from being a Butler victory.
If Hayward was an unrestricted free agent, this scenario would be 99% certainty . . . but the fact of the matter is, Hayward is a restricted free agent, and reports indicate that the Jazz intended to match any offer that comes Hayward’s way:
— Dime Magazine (@DimeMag) June 30, 2014
Cue sad splat sounds for the Boston Celtics:
The 6-foot-8 restricted free agent is expected to receive a significant contract offer, possibly upwards to a max deal, from the Phoenix Suns this coming week, according to sources.
Boston and Charlotte are two other teams that the Jazz anticipate could throw large offers at Hayward.
However, the Jazz plan on matching any offers for Hayward and intend to keep the versatile wing player in the organization as a major cornerstone in this rebuilding era, according to sources.
Hayward would at least be able to slide in and replace the inconsistent Jeff Green, who has been on the trading block for a while now and would certainly be sent packing should the Celtics be able to snag Hayward. I say “at least be able to replace” Green because, if we’re being honest, Green actually has better numbers than Hayward (14.2 PPG, 5. 1 TRB, .442 FG% for Green versus 12.0 PPG, 3.4 TRB and .436 FG% for Hayward). Green is also more athletic than Hayward, but Hayward is younger and still has room to grow.
We all know the Jeff Green we saw last year is the Jeff Green we will see, forever.
None of this appears to matter at the moment, as Utah has already extended a qualifying offer to Hayward and appear to be genuine in its intentions of keeping Hayward, so don’t look for a sign-and-trade any time soon.
Of course, strange things happen in the world of free agency, so we’ll keep tracking this story!