The Celtics are angling to pair potential off-season acquisitions Gordon Hayward and Paul George, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
Boston has been heavily linked with star players on the market, and reportedly seeks to pair the Jazz and Pacers’ All-Star forwards as part of a major overhaul. The Celtics hope to receive a commitment from Hayward, who will be a free agent, before then moving the requisite pieces to Indiana to add George.
One potentially major stumbling block: Wojnarowski reports the Pacers could move George elsewhere prior to the start of free agency rather than wait out the Celtics. Boston has a strong enough collection of assets to make the deal, but without Hayward in the fold will likely wait until the pieces fall into place. The Celtics must also shuffle their cap sheet to create space in order to accomodate both players. Wojnarowski reports the Celtics have “contingencies” in place to make that possible.
According to the report, Blake Griffin could also be a potential free-agent signing for the Celtics to enable them to then trade for George.
George, 27, has made clear his desire to leave the Pacers next off-season, which jump-started Indiana’s trade plans. The Celtics have a mix of young players on cost-controlled contracts and future draft assets that could get the deal done. George prefers to join the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Celtics reportedly believe they can convince him to re-sign long-term.
Hayward, also 27, is Utah’s off-season priority. The Jazz can offer him more money than any other team.