The 2017 NBA offseason has already seen a flurry of activity, including trades of the No. 1 pick in the draft, D’Angelo Russell and Dwight Howard. And now, the buzz surrounding free agency is almost palpable.
Adrian Wojnarowski, Marc Stein, David Aldridge and plenty of other NBA reporters are wearing out the keys to spell “sources” on their computers, and the actual free-agency period is still days away.
As we draw nearer to 12:01 a.m. ET Saturday and the anticipation grows, here’s a roundup of the latest from the ever-churning rumor mill, as well as predictions for some of the biggest free agents.
Gordon Hayward to the Celtics?
It feels like Gordon Hayward has been connected to the Boston Celtics ever since they hired his college coach, Brad Stevens, back in 2013.
On an episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, The Ringer’s Mark Titus provided some details on the relationship between the two, including Hayward’s loyalty to Stevens when family-favorite Purdue offered a scholarship after Butler.
Now, that loyalty could be on display again, as the Celtics pursue Hayward and eventually Paul George.
“The Boston Celtics are pursuing an aggressive summer plan of sequencing the signing of free agent Gordon Hayward and relinquishing the assets needed to complete a trade for Paul George, league sources told The Vertical,” Yahoo’s Wojnarowski wrote.
If Boston was able to pull off such a series of moves, it’d have a core of Hayward, George, Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford. That’s a foursome that could legitimately compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The moves are easier said than done, though. As Wojnarowski points out, the Pacers may not have the patience to wait out the Celtics’ pursuit of Hayward before finding a trade it likes for George. And while the Hayward/Celtics rumors are fun for nostalgic reasons, his current Utah Jazz are on the rise.
Still, this feels like the kind of blockbuster sequence Boston general manager Danny Ainge has been angling for years. And he’s put his team in a strong position to pull it off.
When Hayward meets with the Celtics and Ainge presents his master plan, it could be tough to say no.
Prediction: Hayward goes to Boston.
Andre Iguodala on the Move?
Golden State’s incredibly talented core of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson is going to get incredibly expensive over the next few years. And that means hanging on to key role players could become difficult.
“Andre Iguodala has become the foremost target in an attempt to weaken the Golden State Warriors’ chokehold on the NBA, league sources have told ESPN,” Chris Haynes of ESPN.com wrote.
“The Minnesota Timberwolves, San Antonio Spurs, LA Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic, Brooklyn Nets and Utah Jazz are among the teams interested in the 2015 NBA Finals MVP, sources tell ESPN.”
Iguodala would surely be a help, both on and off the floor, to any of those teams, especially if he wants to make much more than the $11.1 million he hauled in this season.
But how can the fifth-best player (maybe even fourth, depending on how you view Thompson) on possibly the best team ever assembled leave right when it’s on the cusp of a seemingly inevitable dynasty?
Iguodala’s a 13-year veteran who’s already made over $100 million in his career. One of the aforementioned teams may nearly double that career haul in one contract, but the history, chemistry and familiarity of the Warriors will all have plenty of pull.
Prediction: Iguodala re-signs with the Warriors.
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