Report: Chasing free agent Gordon Hayward ‘No. 1 focus’ for Celtics

Utah Jazz's Gordon Hayward (20). (Rick Bowmer/AP Photo)

The Boston Celtics may be playing in the Eastern Conference Finals and holding on to the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be searching for ways to build on their roster.

According to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics could be looking to make a big splash in the off-season by chasing upcoming free agent forward Gordon Hayward.

“Jimmy Butler or even Paul George, that doesn’t guarantee they get by Cleveland,” Wojnarowski said of possible trade targets for the Celtics. “They can keep these young assets, develop a No. 1 pick this year, No. 1 pick next year, and you know try to go out in free agency and get Hayward, which is their No. 1 focus I’m told.”

Rumours about the Celtics going after Hayward have been circulating even as far back as last season, but their chances of striking a deal with the all-star small forward got a bit of a bump this week.

With Hayward failing to make the cut for an All-NBA team this season, the Utah Jazz lose the ability to offer him a "supermax" deal. With Utah losing that financial advantage in signing one of their own free agents, the chances of Hayward wanting to test the open market could increase.

Leaving the Jazz, an up-and-coming team in the Western Conference, would be a tough decision for Hayward. But if he were to make that choice, the Celtics appear to be more than ready to welcome him with open arms as they try to take down the King of the Eastern Conference in LeBron James.