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The reason Celtics won’t trade Gordon Hayward this offseason

Celtics, Gordon Hayward, Danny Ainge

Boston Celtics small forward Gordon Hayward has a player option worth $34,187,085 for the 2020-21 season and he’s expected to pick it up since he won’t get that type of money on the open market.

Some pundits around the NBA believe the Celtics should trade Hayward this offseason for a player under a long-term contract and someone who can stay healthy. Since signing with Boston in 2017, Hayward has been injury-prone and only played in 71 regular-season games.

However, according to a former NBA exec who spoke to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge really likes Hayward, making a trade this offseason involving Hayward unlikely.

There’s also the fact that Hayward isn’t the All-Star player he was with the Utah Jazz due to the dislocated ankle and fractured tibia he suffered on opening night against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017-18.

“[Ainge] likes Hayward. They probably just make a run at it next year with the same team,” the former executive said. “Who is going to take Hayward? He’s damaged goods now.”

Hayward has struggled to stay healthy in his time with the Celtics, most notably with a dislocated ankle and fractured tibia in his first game with the team in 2017.

“Danny does a good job knowing when to move on from people, but that being said, Hayward had a very good year for them. People forget because of the bubble,” a different Eastern Conference executive said.

Gordon Hayward appeared in 52 games for the Celtics in 2019-20, but he suffered a hand injury that required surgery and also hurt his ankle in the playoffs at Walt Disney World. The swingman finished the regular season with averages of 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists.

The Celtics lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals in six games. Hayward only played in five games in the 2020 postseason and wasn’t even close to 100 percent.

Hopefully, Hayward doesn’t suffer an injury next season and plays high-level basketball for Boston.