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Paul George-Gordon Hayward-Celtics rumor doesn’t add up

Gordon Hayward; Paul George

Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) guards Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13), during an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/George Frey)


Paul George reportedly wants to play with Gordon Hayward. George is also reportedly willing to join his desired team (universally accepted to be the Lakers) by means that don’t guarantee the highest salary.

Could the Celtics – who are pursuing Hayward in free agency – leverage those conditions into getting George?

Adam Kauffman of 98.5 The Sports Hub:

I don’t what George would do, but it’d be a MAJOR financial disadvantage to go this route.

There a couple ways it could happen – George getting extended-and-trade or George getting traded then signing an extension six months later. The latter would allow George to earn more than the former, but even if he pledged to sign an extension, would the Celtics trade for him knowing he’d have six months to change his mind if he doesn’t like Boston as much as anticipated?

There’s a bigger issue, anyway. Both extension routes would leave George earning far less than simply letting his contract expire then signing a new deal, either with his incumbent team or a new one.

Here’s a representation of how much George could earn by:

  • Letting his contract expire and re-signing (green)
  • Letting his contract expire and signing elsewhere (purple)
  • Getting traded and signing an extension six months later (gray)
  • Signing an extend-and-trade (yellow)

Expire & re-signExpire & leaveTrade, extend laterExtend-and-trade
2018-19$30.6 million$30.6 million$23,410,750$23,410,750
2019-20$33.0 million$32.1 million$25,283,610$24,581,287
2020-21$35.5 million$33.7 million$27,156,470$25,751,825
2021-22$37.9 million$35.2 million$29,029,330
2022-23$40.4 million
Total$177.5 million$131.6 million$104,880,158$73,743,861

Firm numbers are used when it’s just a calculation based on George’s current contract. When necessary to project the 2018-19 salary cap, I rounded.

The Celtics could theoretically renegotiate-and-extend, but that would require cap room that almost certainly wouldn’t exist after signing Hayward.

Simply, it’s next to impossible to see this happening. It’d be too costly to George.