A sign-and-trade for the Boston Celtics involving Gordon Hayward and Myles Turner was in play.
Hayward logged 125 games over three seasons in Boston, just 71 as a starter. An untimely injury from the jump made for a major damper on his time in Beantown, and more optimistically, young talent jumped to the forefront of the Celtics’ plans faster than expected.
Hayward, more or less, became expendable by the final year.
In some ways, Hayward opting out of his very expensive deal is a blessing in disguise. Though the Cs got nothing back in return for his departure like they may have hoped, his substantial salary off the books offers greater flexibility for ancillary signings and trades throughout the season,.
But goodness, doesn’t it feel like the organization kind of blew it?
After all, reports are they could have signed-and-traded Hayward to the Indiana Pacers for Myles Turner and Doug McDermott.
The Celtics should have been aggressive in a Myles Turner pursuit
Myles Turner is a very impactful rim-protecting center that the Boston Celtics sorely need. Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter did what they could last season, but neither has the size or athleticism to play up above the rim on the defensive end.
Turner does it better than most. And of course, Kanter is now gone, anyway.
Within six feet of the rim, of players who faced at least five attempts per game within that range on the defensive end, Turner forced the ninth-best decline in field goal percentage for opponents (-10.9 percent).
Beyond that very direct stat, Turner is one of the most feared rim protectors in the league, which means he very well may dissuade opponents from even attempting shots.
Furthermore, Turner is accepting of a wide variety of different roles.
In the light of Domantas Sabonis’ rise last year and a desire to start both he and Sabonis, Turner was asked to take a more expansive offensive role. He attempted 4.9 3-pointers per 36 minutes last year, 1.6 more than the season before.
3-point attempts were 25.1 percent of his shot profile in 2019, 42.6 in 2020. And though his accuracy went down, some analytics suggest even his mere attempts beyond the arc helped the “Turbonis” frontcourt find effectiveness.
And Turner wasn’t even clear on this coming into the season. It’s arguable head coach Nate McMillan did him a grave disservice by not letting him know of his role change until training camp.
Turner was told to work on his around-the-rim game heading into the offseason.
And you know what he gave? 100 percent with no complaints, despite being shoved into an incongruous role on short notice.
He’s versatile. He’s a team player. He fills a major need in rim-protecting for the Celtics and could do so without having to give up the offensive spacing.
Quite honestly, he would have been a perfect fit, but instead, Hayward ends up in Charlotte.
And for what? For the Celtics to try to pry T.J. Warren or Victor Oladipo over Doug McDermott?
I understand. If you can get more, do it. Warren and Oladipo are great offensive players who both have shown promise on the defensive end.
If you’re telling me it’s Turner or nothing for Hayward, why would you take nothing?
Taking nothing instead of the exact combo of players you want isn’t principled — It’s greedy.
There’s always more than meets the eye with these sort of situations. Maybe we’re not privy to a major snag in the sign-and-trade that Ainge didn’t (and shouldn’t have) budged on. Perhaps the Boston Celtics had plans to trade Warren and/ or Oladipo for something down the line and they were integral to larger plans.
But with what we know now, this seems like a major failure.
We’ll see what the Celtics do to fill their frontcourt needs. But not getting Turner was, at first glance, a major misstep.