By currently playing for the Charlotte Hornets, Gordon Hayward is not much of a threat to the Boston Celtics. However, that could change if a division rival, like the Philadelphia 76ers, traded for him. Given the Sixers’ cap flexibility, that could be possible. Philly Voice’s Adam Aaronson proposed a trade that would send Hayward to the Sixers, in a December 11 story.
Sixers receive: Hayward
Hornets receive: Marcus Morris Sr., Furkan Korkmaz, Danuel House Jr., Jaden Springer, 2024 second-round pick via New York, 2029 76ers second-round pick
Aaronson explained why Hayward fits with the Sixers for more reasons than just his basketball abilities.
“Hayward makes a whopping $31.5 million this season, but on an expiring deal, he fits the Sixers’ expected desire of a win-now role player who doesn’t inhibit their summer of 2024 cap space plans. Hayward is far from the All-Star he once was, but is still a guy who can pass, shoot, and dribble at a high level,” Aaronson wrote.
Aaronson added that one particular ability that Hayward brings could be of great value to the Sixers.
“Hayward is a wing by trade but is an excellent ball-handler for his size. He could join the Sixers and, in essence, be their backup point guard — likely their biggest hole on offense,” Aaronson wrote.” “Adding Hayward would give the Sixers a much-needed extra layer of versatility.”
Something that’s killed the Sixers has been a lack of wing depth. Not only does Hayward bring that along with playmaking, but he also brings solid defense. Hayward’s defense helped on Jayson Tatum helped the Hornets beat the Celtics on November 20.
Proposed Trade Sends Marcus Smart to Bucks
While an ex-Celtic like Gordon Hayward could potentially stand in the way of the Celtics hopes, Marcus Smart could too. Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz proposed the following trade in a November 4 story that would send Smart to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Bucks Receive: Smart
Grizzlies Receive: Bobby Portis, Pat Connaughton, MarJon Beauchamp, 2024 second-round pick (via Portland Trail Blazers)
Swartz explained why Smart’s skillset would greatly benefit the Bucks.
“The only complaint from the Damian Lillard trade was the overall drop in defense Milwaukee made (21st overall this season, down from 4th in 2022-23). Adding a proven point-of-attack defender like Smart—who can switch onto bigger forwards as well—would help bring the Bucks back toward the top of the standings.
“A starting five of Lillard, Smart, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Brook Lopez would be extremely potent on both ends and still have a bench featuring Jae Crowder, Malik Beasley, Cameron Payne, and Andre Jackson Jr,” Swartz wrote.
Former Celtics have had their number during the 2023-24 season, like Moe Wagner and Aaron Nesmith. There’s no telling what Smart or Hayward would do if they played for the Celtics’ strongest opposition.
Reported Outlines Possible Blake Griffin Return
One possible way the Celtics could fill their last roster spot is with Blake Griffin. It appears that a Griffin return isn’t out of the question. MassLive’s Brian Robb explained that if he were to come back, he wouldn’t expect Griffin to return for a few months.
“If Blake does return, don’t see it happening until after the trade deadline. At that point, rosters will be more settled and the C’s may hold an open roster spot or two for the buyout/free agent market,” Robb wrote in a December 8 story.
Robb added that if Griffin opts not to come back, he still expects the Celtics to bolster their frontcourt depth.
“If it’s not Griffin, I do expect the Celtics to be active in trade talks for other bigs, so there would be less of a reliance on (Luke) Kornet if injuries hit the frontcourt in the playoffs.”