Celtics

NBA Rumors: Cavs would 'gladly' trade for Gordon Hayward if available

NBA Rumors: Cavs would 'gladly' trade for Gordon Hayward if available

The Boston Celtics are focused on the 2019 playoffs. But the NBA's lottery teams already are looking ahead to this summer, and it appears the Cleveland Cavaliers are keeping tabs on one of Boston's prized assets.

Cavs general manager Koby Altman confirmed last Friday his team already has fielded calls for veteran guard J.R. Smith, whose unique contract -- only $3.8 million guaranteed of the $15.7 million he's technically owed next season -- could provide another club with valuable cap flexibility.

In an article published Wednesday, Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor listed the Celtics as one of the Cavs' 10 potential trade partners in a Smith deal, citing Cleveland's interest in former All-Star Gordon Hayward.

The Cavs would gladly take the polarizing Hayward, who was an All-Star in Utah before his horrific leg injury. He would be the main prize, the exception to Cleveland demanding a draft pick or ascending player on a rookie deal. Hayward is healthy now and will have a full off-season to try to regain his old form, possibly giving the Cavs another piece to accelerate their timeline. Put Hayward, 29, alongside Kevin Love, Collin Sexton and the duo added in Round One and suddenly Cleveland has the look of a playoff team.

Fedor notes the only way Boston would consider dealing Hayward is if things went awry this summer. If Kyrie Irving bolts in free agency and the C's lose out on Anthony Davis, Danny Ainge could look to unload the maximum contracts of Hayward and Al Horford to do a mini-rebuild around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

If Irving stays, though, don't expect Hayward to go anywhere. Ainge acquired the 29-year-old to be a key contributor on a title-contending Boston team, and Hayward has shown encouraging signs he can still be that player after his October 2018 leg injury (suffered in Cleveland, ironically).

The Celtics have bigger fish to fry as they aim to dispatch the Indiana Pacers in the first round. But here's another reminder that if Boston bows out early, things could get very, very interesting this offseason.

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Report: Some teams down on signing Kyrie Irving after rough series vs Bucks

Report: Some teams down on signing Kyrie Irving after rough series vs Bucks

While everyone has been focusing on which team Kyrie Irving should or will choose to play for once free agency begins on June 30, some teams have reportedly fallen out of love with the idea of signing the All-Star point guard to a big contract. 

According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, at least two teams are saying they will only go after Irving if they can land another big-time free agent first who wants to play with him. 

The most interesting bit of information from several sources that we’ve been able to consolidate and confirm is that some teams thought to have interest in Irving as a free agent are now a great deal more wary. Based on the way things played out with the Celtics this season and Irving’s role both off the court all year and on it in the playoff loss to Milwaukee, certain clubs are concerned about putting too many eggs in his basket right away.

Irving was not his usual self against the Bucks. He shot 35.6 percent from the field, 21.9 percent from three and averaged 3.6 turnovers per game compared to the 2.6 turnovers he averaged during the regular season. 

Much of that can be attributed to the Bucks, who have proven they are a juggernaut after blowing out the Raptors to take a commanding 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. But it seems the way Irving struggled on offense and how he let it negatively impact his effort on defense has resonated with teams who have the cap space to sign him. 

The 2019-19 season did not end how the Celtics or Irving expected it would. After declaring his commitment to the team before the regular season began, Boston's roller-coaster year could have changed his mind. 

If the Celtics want to want to pursue a trade for Anthony Davis, having Irving in the fold would seemingly be the linchpin in that plan. 

However, one executive told A. Sherrod Blakely that it's possible Irving is, "Playing all of you guys right now," and will return to the Celtics once he gets a chance to look at all of his options. 

If this report is true, Irving's options may be dwindling.

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Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren says 'nearly any kind of transaction is in play' this summer

Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren says 'nearly any kind of transaction is in play' this summer

This summer is going to be an interesting one for the Celtics.

Obviously, all eyes will be on Kyrie Irving as he decides where to go in free agency. Along with that, the C's have three first-round draft picks and are sure to be involved in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes. There's a chance Boston ends up being one of the more active teams in the NBA in the upcoming offseason.

Mike Zarren is ready for it.

The Celtics' assistant general manager talked with Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe about how busy the team expects to be in these next few months.

“Given the state of our roster and the draft assets we have now and going forward, nearly any kind of transaction is in play. To trade for players around the league, to move up or down in the draft, for future picks, to use our picks,” Zarren told Himmelsbach. “We’ve got a lot of flexibility this summer, but also a lot of big decisions to make. So the next two months are going to be very, very busy.”

Buckle up, Celtics fans.

Fortunately for Zarren, he'll have "Trader Danny" by his side during the hectic offseason. The Celtics' president of basketball operations is "back at it" after suffering a heart attack on April 30.

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