Gordon Hayward is not leaving Boston for nothing, even if we don’t initially see the return.
The Celtics on Sunday announced they finally worked out a sign-and-trade with the Hornets that sends the 30-year-old former All-Star along with two future second round draft picks to Charlotte. In return, Boston gets a conditional future second rounder and a trade exception to use sometime this year.
And that trade exception reportedly could be the largest one ever created in the NBA.
It was a hopeful expectation that Charlotte would be willing to work a sign-and-trade out to return the favor from last year when Boston was willing to do the same for Kemba Walker. The Hornets didn’t have the space to take on Hayward’s four-year, $120 million contract before waiving and stretching Nick Batum, and by playing nice, they also get the bonus draft picks that they wouldn’t have if he’d signed a deal outright.
The Celtics now have up to a year to trade for one or more player’s whose combined salaries are no more than what Hayward will make on the first year of his enormous deal, or claim someone off waivers. This TPE cannot be combined with those generated from the Enes Kanter ($4.7 million) or Vincent Poirier ($2.5 million) trades.
According to Keith Smith of Yahoo! Sports, Hayward’s first-year salary will be around $28.5 million with Charlotte.
It that holds true, it takes the cake as the biggest TPE created from Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti, who managed to create a $27.5 million exception on Nov. 23 when Steven Adams was traded to New Orleans.
We’ll see if and how Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge uses this sometime over the next 12 months.