Gordon Hayward came into the 2018-19 NBA season with high expectations after being forced to miss the entire 2017-18 NBA season due to a gruesome ankle injury that he suffered in the first game of the year. He worked hard all season and throughout the offseason to get back to full strength and many thought that he would hit the ground running.
Unfortunately, that has not been the case so far this season. Hayward has struggled finding his role with the Celtics and reports even came out that he would accept a role coming off the bench for the Celtics.
Boston even made the move to send Hayward to the bench in favor of Aron Baynes. It is a bit of a low for Hayward, who just a couple short years ago was considered to be a rising star in the NBA.
Danny Ainge signed Hayward to form a “super team” with Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford, but he has ended up being the odd man out. Jaylen Brown has stepped up and Terry Rozier has also become a huge part of the Celtics' future.
Now, the question becomes, should the Celtics consider gauging trade value for Hayward ahead of the NBA trade deadline this year?
Throughout the 2018-19 NBA season thus far, Hayward has averaged 9.8 points per game to go along with 5.4 rebound and 3.1 assists. He has shot just 38.9 percent from the field overall and has knocked down just 28.3 percent of his 3-point attempts. Hayward has been able to chip in 1.3 steals per game.
At 28 years old, Hayward's value may not be at an all-time high. Despite that fact, the Celtics should definitely see what they can get for the former rising star.
Hayward's struggles have been in part due to his injury from last season. He has looked hesitant to go to the rim and has not played with the confidence that made him such a dangerous scorer with the Utah Jazz.
Boston could very well trade Hayward for depth or even draft assets, which could be used to bring in more talent at a lower cost.
Looking around the NBA, there are quite a few teams that could have interest in bringing Hayward on board. Even though he has had a tough season, there is no denying the fact that he is a capable star. He has plenty of time to get his career back on track from the injury he suffered last season.
Why would the Celtics consider trading him? Quite simply, there are only so many minutes that they have to give out. Hayward being moved would open up a bigger role for Brown and they could also give more minutes to Marcus Smart and whoever they get in return for Hayward.
Some potential trade suitors that would make sense could be the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, and Miami Heat. All of those teams could use another player like Hayward to add scoring to their lineup.
Obviously, this entire scenario is completely speculation. Boston could very well decide to keep their current roster intact and try to make another run deep into the postseason.
LeBron James is no longer in the Eastern Conference to terrorize the rest of the conference and the Celtics have the best roster on paper. If Hayward were to find his groove and begin playing at the level that he was a couple of years ago, the Celtics could be a legitimate super team.
That being said, banking on the hope that Hayward figures everything out could be dangerous for the Celtics as well.
Gauging trade value for him would be a very smart move leading up to the trade deadline. If Ainge gets a big offer that would help the Celtics both now and in the future, the team should consider pulling the trigger.
It will be interesting to see what the Celtics end up doing moving forward this year. They have not gotten off to the start that many were expecting and it may be time to consider some changes.
Hayward still has a bright future ahead of him in the NBA. If he can get back to trusting his body and playing an aggressive style of basketball, there is hope for him to get back to being a lethal scorer.
On the other hand, if he is comfortable settling for a bench role, that could signify a bigger issue.
Expect to hear the Celtics be active ahead of the trade deadline. They are still a piece or two away from competing with the Golden State Warriors and moving Hayward to better their future might be a smart decision.