Gordon Hayward to the Boston Celtics means general manager Danny Ainge has to trade somebody. Could it be Jae Crowder to the Utah Jazz in a sign-and-trade?
The Boston Celtics have made the biggest splash in 2017 NBA free agency so far by inking former Utah Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward to a four-year max contract. However, that deal has put the Celtics over the salary cap and Boston general manager Danny Ainge needs to shed salary.
Boston has made center Kelly Olynyk an unrestricted free agent. The Celtics are also looking to trade one of their three high-end rotational players: Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder or Marcus Smart.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, “the Jazz and Celtics discussed on Wednesday the possibility of including Crowder in a sign-and-trade agreement for Hayward…which would be cap beneficial for Boston.”
Sign-and-trades have come back in vogue in the NBA after largely disappearing in recent summers. It was most recently used in a three-team deal between the Denver Nuggets, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Atlanta Hawks. Paul Millsap went to Denver, Danilo Gallinari went to Los Angeles and Jamal Crawford’s contract went to Atlanta. He hopes to be bought out and sign with a contender or the Los Angeles Lakers.
Though Crowder isn’t Hayward at the three, at least Utah would be getting something rather than nothing in Hayward joining the Celtics. Crowder has proven that he can be a solid starting forward for a 50-win perennial playoff team in the Eastern Conference. He would help Utah stay in the mix for a Western Conference playoff spot next year.
Most teams would prefer Bradley, as he is an elite defensive player at the two-guard with a decent offensive game. Smart is solid defensively but still doesn’t have a reliable jump shot. Crowder isn’t as valuable as he had been previously with the Celtics, but would certainly be the right get for the Jazz to help them offset the loss of Hayward.