With the Feb. 6 trade deadline rapidly approaching, many are wondering what the Boston Celtics will do.
They don’t exactly have a ton of wiggle room, as they are maxed out in terms of cap space and don’t have any big contracts to send back in trades.
Well, unless you count Gordon Hayward, who, for some reason, has been mentioned by fans and media members as a player the Celtics could potentially move.
You know the story. Boston signed Hayward during the summer of 2017, but his debut season in Beantown lasted just a few minutes before he suffered a gruesome season-ending broken leg.
He returned last season and had a very shaky year, so all eyes were on him heading into the 2019-20 campaign.
Needless to say, Hayward has delivered, as he is averaging 17.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists over 32.5 minutes per game while shooting 51.7 percent from the floor, 38.1 percent from three-point range and 88 percent from the free-throw line.
Yes, he missed some time due to a broken hand, but this is a 31-game sample size, so it’s pretty clear that Hayward is back.
The 29-year-old is in the middle of the most efficient season of his career, as he owns a true-shooting percentage of 60.8 percent and an effective field-goal percentage of 57.6 percent, both career highs.
Hayward’s impact, particularly on the offensive end, has also been very tangible this year, and he clearly has had a positive effect on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, both of whom are enjoying breakout seasons.
And yet, some think the C’s should dangle him in trade talks for a big man like Steven Adams.
To be fair, Adams would be great on the Celtics, and Boston does need some help in its frontcourt, but sacrificing Hayward to acquire it would actually be a backward move.
For those who bring up the Celts’ wing depth in Tatum and Brown, Hayward does things that neither Tatum nor Brown are capable of, as he can play point forward and run the offense and also consistently create for others in transition.
Hayward’s defensive versatility is also very valuable, as he, Tatum and Brown can basically switch everything.
The general consensus is that the C’s need more to seriously contend for a championship, and that is true. The Celtics absolutely need more size, and they desperately need scoring off the bench.
But Boston may just have to either hope it can go on a magical playoff run as is or punt to the offseason.
Hayward is making $32.7 million this season, which is the primary reason why people are including him in trade packages to begin with, but with the way he is playing, he is worth every penny of that salary.
This was not supposed to be a title-contending season for the C’s, anyway. This was supposed to be a bridge year, so taking a big risk at the deadline to try and chase a 2020 championship that was always unrealistic anyway would not be wise.
The Celtics have a bright future, and Hayward is a big part of it.