The Boston Celtics are pursuing an aggressive summer plan of sequencing the signing of free agent Gordon Hayward and relinquishing the assets needed to complete a trade for Paul George, league sources told The Vertical.
– The Vertical
Despite not becoming a free agent until after next season, George has become one of the most talked about names this off-season after he announced he’d be leaving the Indiana Pacers at the end of the 2018 campaign to preferably sign with his hometown Los Angeles Lakers.
George is a four-time all-star and has spent his entire seven-season career with the Pacers. Last season George averaged a career-high 23.7 points per game on 43.2 per cent shooting from the field and 37.0 per cent from deep to go along with a 6.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game average.
Hayward, on the other hand, will likely be an unrestricted free agent starting July 1 as he has a player option that most expect him to opt out of. He has long been a rumoured target of the Celtics.
Last season Hayward was named an all-star for the first time in his seven-season career with averages of 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game on 47.1 per cent shooting and 39.8 per cent from three-point range.
Should the Celtics manage to manoeuvre themselves to pull this off, they would be adding two 27-year-old all-stars to a 28-year-old, two-time all-star in Isaiah Thomas along with Jayson Tatum, the third-overall pick in this year’s draft.
According to the report, the Celtics are confident they can convince George to sign a long-term extension if they acquire him to keep said theoretical core going in order to compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.
Wojnarowski also says Boston has a contingency plan should they fail to sign Hayward in a possible pursuit of Los Angeles Clippers all-star forward Blake Griffin, who is an unrestricted free agent.