After a clean series sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the Boston Celtics proved they could win without Hayward in the lineup.
We at the Houdini have long pondered what the alternative options could be for the Boston Celtics–who are spending $34 million on the oft-injured Gordon Hayward. That question once again reveals itself as the C’s open up the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the defending champion Toronto Raptors.
On one side, you have a 53-win juggernaut that just so happens to have brought back most of a championship core. They’re fully healthy and are riding the momentum of having their second-year coach–following a title in his first season–Nick Nurse being named Coach of the Year for the 2019-20 season.
On the other, the Celtics–like they were two seasons ago–are missing Hayward. This time around, we know that he is a key loss. The 2019-20 C’s have gelled in every way imaginable, with every combination of players stepping up due to injury the entire year.
That is once again the case with Hayward’s high ankle sprain set to keep him out until late September at earliest. Instead of bearing witness to the former Utah Jazz franchise star live up to his promise under Brad Stevens when the lights are brightest, he will be the subject of a continuous “what-if” which unfortunately does not move the needle forward in the present.
Here are 2 offseason trades that involve the $34 million cap figure of Gordon Hayward: