When news broke Saturday that Gordon Hayward was signing a four-year, $120 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets, it came as a surprise to just about all of us.
One night earlier, there were reports that Hayward was "fully focused" on going home to Indiana, and that the Celtics and Pacers were negotiating what pieces would be involved in a sign-and-trade.
So what changed? How come the reported deal with Indiana didn't get done?
ESPN's Zach Lowe shed some light on how things went down Monday on his Lowe Post podcast.
Unsurprisingly, one key here is that the Hornets simply offered Hayward more money than anyone else, although Lowe reports that both the Celtics and the Pacers were offering Hayward a deal that wasn't as far off Charlotte's offer as you might expect.
“If you want to clown the contract, that’s fine. Just know that’s it’s not like the Pacers and the Celtics were offering $80 million,” Lowe said, as transcribed by MassLive's John Karalis. “They weren’t offering $120, but my best intel is something like 105, 108, 102, 110. It’s not like the Delta was so huge.”
If that's true, then it would seem that Hayward's heart wasn't quite as set on Indiana as was reported. If the money was that close and he really wanted to go to Indiana, he certainly could've afforded to wait to see if the Celtics and Pacers could work out a trade.
As far as why said trade may have been held up, Lowe reports that Myles Turner may have been a sticking point. Turner had been mentioned in just about every Celtics-Pacers rumor from the start, and the assumption was the Celtics wanted him given their need to upgrade their frontcourt.
But according to Lowe, Danny Ainge and the Celtics may not have been all that high on Turner, and may have actually wanted to flip him in another trade if they did end up with him.
“I think, really, talking to people and reading the tea leaves as best I could, it really comes down to the Celtics didn’t want Myles Turner,” Lowe said. “...I did hear from some teams around the league that the Celtics have done some preliminary research on what Myles Turner’s trade value would have been to them had they acquired him either in this deal or in a separate deal and obviously didn’t like what they saw.”
The Celtics wound up reportedly signing veteran big man Tristan Thompson to help their frontcourt instead.
“They made a conscious choice that ‘I’d rather have Tristan Thompson at nine-and-a-half (million) and nine-and-a-half, than Myles Turner at 18, 18, 18,” Lowe said. “I think that’s really interesting and it’s not the choice I expected Boston to make.”
There are reports that the Celtics and Hornets are still discussing a possible sign-and-trade for Hayward, so it's at least possible Boston could still get something for him after all.