One of the Boston Celtics’ most coveted free agents might get scooped up by another team before the Celtics have their chance to woo him.
The Cleveland Cavaliers hosted restricted free-agent forward Gordon Hayward for a visit on Wednesday, and they’re reportedly preparing a huge offer sheet for him.
The Cavs should be able to clear as much as $20 million in salary-cap space and apparently are willing to offer Hayward about $15 million per season. They’ve made him their top free-agent target after being unable to secure a meeting with LeBron James.
Cleveland joins the Phoenix Suns and Charlotte Hornets as Boston’s competition in the Hayward race. The Utah Jazz forward was the ninth overall pick in 2010 and has averaged 12 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 287 career games since. Last season, he had seven games with double-digit rebounds and six with double-digit assists.
Though the Celtics have the advantage of having the Butler product’s college coach in Brad Stevens, the Cavaliers’ pursuit of Hayward makes it more unlikely that that Celtics will be able to acquire him. The Cavs have young talent in Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins, while the Celtics likely will still be rebuilding unless they can somehow pull off a trade for Kevin Love.