Would the Boston Celtics dare use Gordon Hayward as a chip to bolster their frontcourt?
Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz last week floated a blockbuster trade idea in which the Celtics would send Hayward, rookie shooting guard Romeo Langford and a lottery-protected first-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for center Steven Adams and point guard Dennis Schroder.
Swartz believes the Celtics should jump at the chance to acquire Adams from the rebuilding Thunder and shed Hayward’s massive contract, even if it means parting ways with their top picks in the 2019 and 2020 NBA Drafts.
Here’s what Swartz wrote:
” … Boston desperately needs a defensive-minded big man following the departure of Al Horford in free agency. Backup center Robert Williams, 21, may be the answer in a few years, but signing a 29-year-old Kemba Walker means this team wants to win now.
Enes Kanter in one of the NBA’s best rebounders but is limited athletically when trying to defend the pick-and-roll and protect the rim. Adams (13.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks) would be a major upgrade and allow Kanter to feast on the East’s backup centers.
Schroder (15.5 points, 4.1 assists) gives the Celtics an offensive-minded sixth man — one who a rebuilding OKC team should be fine parting with.
The Thunder are forced to take on Hayward’s remaining two years and nearly $67 million but shed a bad contract of their own in Schroder (two years, $31 million) and get to collect on yet another draft pick plus a young guard.
Langford was the 14th overall pick of the 2019 draft and averaged 16.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists as a freshman at Indiana. At 6’6″, he gives Shai Gilgeous-Alexander a backcourt partner with size the Thunder can confidently build around.”
Whether the Celtics or the Thunder would entertain such an idea is unknown. An unnamed NBA executive told Keith P. Smith of SB Nation’s Celtics Blog in July that Boston quickly shut down a trade inquiry about Hayward. Furthermore, much hype has surrounded Hayward during training camp and preseason, as he’s looking to prove he’s fully recovered from his catastrophic leg injury by delivering a stellar 2019-20 season.