Could Celtics, Pacers Trade Gordon Hayward, Victor Oladipo?

Could Celtics, Pacers Trade Gordon Hayward, Victor Oladipo?

The Boston Celtics were eliminated from the NBA Playoffs on Sunday night by the Miami Heat. Two rounds earlier, the Indiana Pacers suffered the same fate.

Now, as both franchises attempt to plot a path forward, an interesting trade proposition has emerged.

According to The Athletic’s NBA insider Jared Weiss, a deal that would send Gordon Hayward — plus picks and/or cap space — to Indiana and some combination of Victor Oladipo and/or Myles Turner to Boston could make a lot of sense for all parties involved.

“Hayward won’t be opting out of his contract unless he has a long-term extension in place, which will be hard for a 30-year-old with a concerning injury history,” he wrote.

“Indiana is still home for the Haywards, and with Victor Oladipo looking to move on this offseason, according to sources, and Myles Turner possibly in the same boat, there could be an opportunity for Ainge to move Hayward and the abundance of draft picks in his war chest in a mutually agreeable way.”

Hayward picking up his player option for 2020-21 is a lock. As Weiss noted, his injury history makes the prospect of passing on a guaranteed $34.1 million a non-starter. He is currently heading into the final year of his four-year, $128 million contract.

This past season he averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 33.5 minutes per outing.

Oladipo, meanwhile, is also entering the final year of his contract. He is due to make $21 million next season after signing a four-year, $85 million contract.

Coming off a quad tendon rupture from 2019, Oladipo averaged 14.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists over the course of his shortened 2020 campaign. He also shot just under 40 percent from the field.

Oladipo quietly seemed to be working himself into star-level shape late in the the Pacers’ first round series against the Heat, but even then it’s debatable whether it was anywhere close to what he did when he was truly healthy.

Three years ago, in 2017, he averaged 23.1 points and a league-leading 2.1 steals per outing. In the process he earned both All-NBA Team and All-Defensive Team nods.

Turner is a similarly intriguing piece in all this. The emergence of Domantas Sabonis created a big man redundancy in Indiana, even though the two actually play very different games. You could argue the redundancy was actually simply a byproduct of bad coaching, but it is what it is.

Sabonis is a more versatile offensive threat and more limited defensive presence. He can adequately guard centers, but that’s it. Turner, meanwhile, is not as skilled offensively, but can guard both centers and forwards. Plus, he has developed a three-point shot that makes him someone you have to pay attention to on that side of the ball.

The Celtics and Pacers find themselves in an interesting place this offseason. Clearly both teams are constructed well, but not well enough to beat the Heat.

If they want to make the NBA Finals in next few years, that will need to change.

Will that change involve a trade featuring some combination of Hayward, Oladipo, Turner and spare parts? Time will tell.

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Charles Kruger

Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7's go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.

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