Gordon Hayward reportedly wanted to join the Pacers.
Why isn’t he heading to Indiana?
Maybe because the Hornets offered a four-year, $120 million contract.
Or maybe because the Celtics didn’t agree to a sign-and-trade, which was necessary for the capped-out Pacers to add Hayward.
J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star:
The Indiana Pacers offered the Boston Celtics Myles Turner, a first-round pick and a rotation player for Gordon Hayward last week, a source with knowledge of the negotiations told IndyStar.
Rejecting this offer looks like a mistake by the Celtics. A center who defends well (especially in the paint) and shoots 3-pointers, Turner is good. The 24-year-old is under contract at a reasonable $18 million the next three years. A first-round pick hold obvious value.
Hayward is leaving for no return (or so).
But always question unreported details in leaked trade talks. What were the protections on the first-round pick? Those could have significantly altered the pick’s value. Which rotation player? Doug McDermott (one year, $7,333,333 remaining) is highly paid for someone so one-dimensional (though at least that dimension is 3-point shooting). Jeremy Lamb (two years, $21 millions remaining) probably holds negative value after serious injury.
Boston also wanted to keep Hayward. The Celtics are trying to win now, and losing Hayward didn’t open cap space to adequately replace him. It might have been reasonable to set a hardline with the Pacers, either getting a better trade return or – theoretically – pushing Hayward to re-sign.
Charlotte foiled that plan with its big offer.
And maybe Hayward would’ve taken that, anyway. We can’t know what he would’ve done if Boston and Indiana agreed on sign-and-trade terms.
But we have at least some circumstantial evidence Hayward, an Indiana native, preferred joining the Pacers for a high salary (not quite as high as he’ll get with the Hornets, but still high).
So, it looks like the Celtics misplayed their hand based on the outcome.