Your Morning Dump… Where Hayward might be headed to Indiana – which would help the Celtics

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Your Morning Dump… Where Hayward might be headed to Indiana – which would help the Celtics

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Your Morning Dump… Where Hayward might be headed to Indiana – which would help the Celtics

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Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.

On Thursday, when Gordon Hayward left $34 million on the table by choosing free agency over a fourth year in Boston, storm clouds appeared over Celtics Nation.

And that wasn’t all. If Hayward was to sign with the Knicks (who want him and have cap space to sign him outright), Boston would get no players or draft picks in return. It would be the worst-case scenario. The only way the Celtics could receive assets back would be if Hayward went to an over-the-cap team via a sign-and-trade transaction.

Then suddenly, when the free agency period began on Friday evening, these two tweets parted the clouds.

Fortunately, Indy native Hayward is really itching to go home.

Here’s what is going on right now in the Hayward discussion: Hayward wants to play in his native Indiana and he has informed the Celtics of his desire to be traded there. He moved his family back to Fishers, Ind. (about 30 minutes from Bankers Life Field House) during the team’s stint in the NBA Bubble. He has enrolled his daughters in school there.

So he has essentially broken all personal ties to Boston. He opted out because it gives him the best chance to get to Indiana without having to wait a full season. It’s interesting because of the 72-game condensed season, 2021 free agency is about seven months away.

Globe: It’s no one’s fault Gordon Hayward’s future isn’t with the Celtics

Sounds like a done deal, although, technically, Hayward could still come back to Boston.

The Boston Celtics are still in play for Gordon Hayward as free agency opens, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

In an appearance on SportsCenter, Wojnarowski said Hayward still hasn’t entirely made up his mind, despite reports that he has zeroed in on the Indiana Pacers as a preferred destination. Shams Charania made a similar comment while reporting that Indiana is a preferred destination, saying there is “a level of interest” staying in Boston.

MassLive: Gordon Hayward rumors: Boston Celtics still in play, several sign-and-trade scenarios still exist (report)

Yeah, that’s a real longshot at this point. For one thing, the guy who came to Boston expecting to be the no. 1 option in the Celtics’ offense, is now the fourth or fifth option. Can’t be satisfying. Then there’s the bad karma around all his injuries; a fresh start might be beneficial. And finally, there are financial concerns for the Celtics if he comes back. From the Globe article:

There is faint chance Hayward returns to Boston but would Ainge really invest two years and let’s say $50 million on Hayward when they have to sign Jayson Tatum to a maximum contract and he just drafted a 6-foot-6-inch swingman in the first round? It’s not a good investment.

Hayward has the right to be unhappy with his situation but not the Celtics. The Boston front office and coaching staff have given him every opportunity to succeed. Injuries have been his biggest obstacle.

So this is almost definitely goodbye to Gordon. Now we wait to see who Danny can extract in return.

Related – MassLive: Gordon Hayward rumors 2020: Boston Celtics wing ‘fully focused and wants to sign a deal with the Pacers’ (report)  |  Boston.com: Gordon Hayward’s Celtics career may end as one big what-might-have-been  |  Boston Sports Journal: Examining Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade scenarios with the Pacers

On Page 2: Free agent frenzy

Free agency officially opens Friday night and the top line on Boston’s to-do list is almost certainly shoring up the big-man depth chart.

The Celtics didn’t draft a big man on Wednesday night, electing instead to address needs on the wing and at backup point guard. Now the focus will shift to a robust big-man market.

NBC Sports Boston: 2020 NBA free agents: Some ‘big’ names the Celtics could target

This week the Celts traded away both Vincent Poirier and Enes Kanter (Chuck’s take on Kanter is here) and got zero players in return. Obviously, that opened up roster spots and salary cap room, which will enable the Celtics to recruit some free agents.

And in the first few hours of free agency last night, there was player movement galore, including bigs Mason Plumlee, Montrezl Harrell, Christian Wood and Dwight Howard signing with new teams.

But…as of 7:30 a.m. ET today, two bigs of interest who have not signed anywhere are Jayson Tatum’s friend Harry Giles and our old friend Aron Baynes, both of whom could address an important need.

What will the Celts have available to spend on players in free agency, you ask?

It largely depends on Hayward’s decision. If he ultimately re-signs with Boston or if the Celtics take back significant salary for him in a sign-and-trade scenario, the team will probably only use the taxpayer mid-level exception ($5.7 million) to add free agents, assuming they get closer to the tax line ($132 million). If Hayward walks for nothing in free agency or the Celtics sign-and-trade him for a big trade exception, the Celtics will have the full mid-level exception ($9.2 million) and potentially the bi-annual exception ($3.6 million, for up to two-year contract) to use on potential free agents. Beyond those options, the only other route to bring aboard new talent will be veteran’s minimum free agents and trades.

Boston Sports Journal: How will Gordon Hayward’s situation impact Celtics free agency plans?

Today should be a busy day. If Boston lands Turner and Warren to offset the loss of Hayward, and snags Baynes from free agency, it will be a good day.

Related – Boston Sports Journal: How trade of Enes Kanter opens up more possibilities for Celtics  |  NBA.com: 2020 Free Agency Tracker

And, finally… Banners brought to life

The Celtics officially unveiled their new City Edition uniforms yesterday in a series of tweets.

Without context, the design is clean but plain. In context, it’s a cool idea to model the unis after the championship banners – including the small NBA symbol on the shorts. The main difficulty is that everyone outside Celtics Nation (and some inside, too) won’t get it and will need an explanation.

The idea of alternate and one-off uniforms is pretty much played out, in my opinion. Most good ideas have already been used up, so every year the designs are a little more out there than before. With that said, these are infinitely better than the weird Irish pub motif of last season, with the curved letters and sickly shade of green.

As long as fans keep throwing money at the NBA for the City Editions, the NBA will keep cranking them out.

Related – MassLive: Boston Celtics City Edition uniforms officially unveiled

The Rest of the Links:

The Athletic: Inside Aaron Nesmith’s X’s and O’s: Why the Celtics are high on top draft pick

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