Friday 22nd September 2017,
The Hoop Doctors

Is Gordon Hayward Trying to Help Jazz Get Jae Crowder in a Sign-and-Trade with Celtics?

Is Gordon Hayward Trying to Help Jazz Get Jae Crowder in a Sign-and-Trade with Celtics?

Hayward

Gordon Hayward’s path to the Boston Celtics has taken yet another turn for the weird.

Surprise, surprise.

The All-Star combo forward agreed to join the Celtics on a four-year, $128 million deal this past Tuesday, a decision that was rife with screw-ups and leaks and general awkwardness. And it turns out that period of topsy-turviness isn’t over.

Boston needs to dump salary to carve out enough room for Hayward’s full max. Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart have been cited as the two most likely candidates. Among them, Bradley and Smart profile as the most logical collateral damage. Crowder has three years and $21.9 million left on the NBA’s best contract, while Bradley and Smart will be due massive raises next summer.

And yet, according ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski, the Utah Jazz and Celtics have held semi-serious talks about a Hayward sign-and-trade that would land Crowder in Salt Lake City:

The Jazz and Celtics discussed on Wednesday the possibility of including Crowder in a sign-and-trade agreement for Hayward, sources said, which would be cap beneficial for Boston.

Ultimately, Hayward himself will have to agree to a sign-and-trade, which could be perceived as a farewell gift to the Jazz franchise that drafted and developed him into an NBA All-Star. Crowder had been publicly critical of the Celtics pursuit of Hayward during the 2016-’17 season, in part, perhaps, because he’d be the player most impacted by Hayward’s arrival.

Here’s more from Jody Genessy of the Deseret News:

So, like, is Hayward trying to help the Jazz get Crowder in any way? Saying he’s “amenable” to a sign-and-trade doesn’t infer that, but the fact that the Celtics are considering this at all does.

Let’s make this clear: Regardless of whether you think Hayward owes the Jazz something after messing up his departure, this doesn’t make much sense for the Celtics. Team president Danny Ainge has clung to his assets at every turn, and now he’s going to give up Crowder, who might be Boston’s’ third best player and who is most definitely their best LeBron James defender, for someone he’s getting anyway?

Something doesn’t track.

Maybe this is all noise. Maybe Hayward made a Crowder swap a condition of his arrival. Whatever this is, it’s weird. The Celtics can flip any one of Bradley, Smart and Crowder to a host of other teams, many of whom, particularly in Crowder’s case, would offer them more than a player they’re set to add in the first place.

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