As Gordon Hayward struggled to return to form last season following his catastrophic ankle injury, some wondered whether the Celtics could look to move him and dump salary.
Hayward was supposed to star alongside Kyrie Irving after the C's signed him to a max contract in 2017, but obviously, things didn't go as planned. Irving apparently mulled his exit from Boston in December of last year and when it became evident he was on his way out, teams checked in about Hayward's potential availability in a deal.
But even amid what was a letdown season for Hayward and the C's, Boston was unwilling to part ways with the 29-year-old, according to one opposing NBA executive.
“After it was clear Kyrie [Irving] was leaving, I told our owner that we could maybe grab Hayward for nothing if Boston tore it down," the executive told Keith Smith of SB Nation's Celtics Blog. "He’s owed a lot of money, but only a couple of years left. We made a call, but it got shut down quickly. I think Danny [Ainge] and Brad [Stevens] know what they have in Hayward for this year and going forward. He’s going to be really good again.”
It's clear the Celtics weren't discouraged by Irving's departure and the chemistry issues that lingered throughout the 2018-19 campaign. Smith included quotes from other opposing NBA executives, who called the C's asking price for Jayson Tatum "insane" and said Boston shot down an offer for Jaylen Brown as well. President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge obviously believes in the core he put in place and has Hayward, Tatum, and Brown each at the center of the plan going forward.
With the rocky season behind them, the Celtics will have Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter in addition to that core as they look to add some much-needed positivity to the equation.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.