Hayward confirmed Tuesday in a piece for The Players’ Tribune that he will sign with the Celtics. In order to make room for his salary, Wojnarowski reported Boston is still looking for trade partners for Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder.
Wojnarowski and ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne first reported Wednesday the Jazz and Celtics were working on a possible sign-and-trade that would’ve seen Hayward sign with Boston and Crowder move to Utah. They noted that the Celtics will have to move at least one big contract in order to give Hayward a max salary:
But even if the team renounced the rights to Jonas Jerebko, James Young and Gerald Green, waived Jordan Mickey, left 2016 first-round pick Guerschon Yabusele in Europe this season and traded Demetrius Jackson’s partially guaranteed contract and Terry Rozier, Boston would have $29,444,533 to sign Hayward, which is still about $300,000 short of his max.
A sign-and-trade would be mutually beneficial for the Celtics and Jazz. Boston would get financial flexibility, and Utah would receive something in return for Hayward’s departure.
Crowder would be the most logical player for the Celtics to trade. He and Hayward play the same position, and he’s set to earn almost $6.8 million in 2017-18. While Bradley and Smart are both potentially entering the final years of their contracts, the Celtics would almost certainly value them higher than Crowder, who is signed through 2020.
It will be interesting to see how hard a bargain the Jazz and other teams will drive with Celtics general manager Danny Ainge. The rest of the league is aware of how desperate Boston is to create cap space, so the leverage rests firmly with the Celtics’ trading partner, whoever it may be.
Whereas Ainge has generally excelled at deal-making, he may have to trade Crowder, Smart or Bradley at a loss in order to facilitate Hayward’s contract.
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