The Boston Celtics will have to make some moves before making the Gordon Hayward signing official on Thursday. After signing Hayward to a four-year, $127.8 million max deal, Boston simply needs to cut some of the fat off its payroll.
General manager Danny Ainge and Co. started that process by pulling their qualifying offer to Kelly Olynyk, making him an unrestricted free agent. But there’s definitely more work to be done here.
It’s in this that Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley are all seemingly on the trade block.
“The Boston Celtics have been aggressively trying to create enough salary cap room to give Gordon Hayward the four-year, $128 million maximum contract he agreed upon by discussing trades involving Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley,” ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Wednesday.
We now have some specifics.
Boston reached out to people with NYK about Marcus Smart, per sources. The Knicks' level of interest in Smart at the moment is unclear. https://t.co/QT0CrXVOBh
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) July 5, 2017
New York has been searching for a veteran point guard to help mentor rookie top-10 pick Frank Ntilikina. In fact, the Knicks have been linked to enigmatic veteran Rajon Rondo after he was waived by the Chicago Bulls.
Even if the Celtics traded Smart in a cash dump, they would then have to make a number of other moves in order to afford Hayward. Still playing under his rookie deal, the 23-year-old Smart is set to make $4.5 million this upcoming season. He also necessarily wouldn’t be a stopgap until Ntilikina is ready for prime time.
The former lottery pick averaged 10.6 points and 4.6 assists this past season in Boston. He’s also considered one of the best perimeter defenders in the game.