As the NBA trade deadline draws ever-nearer, things like "reported interest" become newsier items than they might otherwise be.
The Celtics have expressed some interest in acquiring Utah's Gordon Hayward, a league source tells CSNNE.com.
Hayward, who starred for Celtics head coach Brad Stevens while at Butler, will become a restricted free agent this summer after he and the Jazz could not come to terms on an extension this past fall.
Blakely goes on to note that sources within the organization report the Celtics are "very reluctant" to part with first-round picks in any potential exchange for Hayward. In other words, Boston wants to engineer a reunion between Hayward and his college coach Brad Stevens, but doesn't want to give up precisely the types of assets it'd take to swing a deal.
Welcome to the trade deadline.
Bleacher Report's Ethan Norof pointed out an alternative route for the Celtics—one that makes a little more sense but would require some patience:
#Celtics won’t put trade offer on the table good enough for Gordon Hayward, but could easily see BOS signing him in restricted free agency.— Ethan Norof (@Mr_Norof) February 18, 2014
Hayward will field offers from teams across the league this summer and the Jazz will be able to match any contract he signs. If the Celtics are serious about holding on to their prized picks, it would probably be wiser for them to sign Hayward to an offer sheet during the offseason.
Maybe the Jazz would match. Maybe they wouldn't. At least Boston would retain its valuable first-rounders.