The Pacers want that as well but do not have the cap space to sign him outright, so they are looking for a sign-and-trade deal, reports Marc Stein of the New York Times.
Indiana continues to explore sign-and-trade pathways to try acquire Gordon Hayward from Boston, league sources say
The Knicks, as covered here yesterday, remain a suitor for Hayward with their salary-cap space
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 20, 2020
Another team with cap space and looking to take a step forward next season into the playoffs, Atlanta, also reportedly has been interested in Hayward. Also, do not count out a return to Boston, which may be more likely than people realize.
While Hayward will make less next season than the $34.7 million he would have made opting into his final year, he will gain the security of multiple years — something that matters to a player coming off a horrific leg injury just a couple of seasons ago. The conventional wisdom around the league is he will get something in the four-year, $90 million to $100 million range (and maybe a little higher if there is a bidding war).
Hayward showed flashes last season of returning to the All-Star level player he was before his devastating leg injury, but he is not consistently at that level yet. He averaged 17.5 points a game playing at an above-average level during the regular season, but against the more focused defenses of the playoffs his scoring dipped to 10.8 points a game with below-average efficiency.
In a down free-agent class, and with shot-creating wings in demand, there are certainly teams interested in bringing in Hayward — Indiana is one of them. The only questions are years and money, but those are big questions.