Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward has seen his name thrown around in the rumor mill of late, and the Portland Trail Blazers have now emerged as one of the 30-year-old's potential destinations this offeason. According to reports, Portland big man Zach Collins might play a key role in any trade deal between these two sides.
According to Zach Lowe of ESPN, a package involving Trevor Ariza, Rodney Hood, and Zach Collins is likely to pique the interest of Boston. However, among these three players, it is going to be Collins that will prove to be the most significant part of the deal. Lowe explains why:
“Ariza is going to be gone from me next year, Hood might be gone from me next year. I’m really just trading for Collins and I have to be really bullish on Collins as probably my future five to make that deal,” Lowe said (h/t Adrian Bernecich of Blazer's Edge).
“I need to do some canvassing on what the league at large thinks of Zach Collins because I was really excited to see him play this year.
“I thought he was really essential for them in the playoffs in 2019 whenever the hell that was. If he can get that three to a point where – he’s never going to be an elite three-point shooter – but if he can be Brook Lopez then he becomes a really interesting player.”
Collins was coming off a lengthy injury spell for Portland last season, but was able to make it back for the restart. In eight games played in the Disney World campus, the 22-year-old averaged 6.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 25.4 minutes per contest. While he hasn't exactly been making waves for the Blazers of late, there's no denying that the potential is there.
It is worth noting that Collins suffered another major injury towards the tail end of the campaign, and had to undergo season-ending surgery on his left ankle.
As for Hayward, the former All-Star has a player option on his current deal for the upcoming season. At this point, the Celtics might just be fielding offers for the 10-year veteran.