Gordon Hayward‘s outside shooting and overall offensive skills would blend well with Isaiah Thomas‘ game if the Jazz forward chooses the Celtics in free agency, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald opines. The fact that the Celtics protected their salary-cap space in order to make a run at a top free agent indicates that Hayward would at least take a close look at Boston and a potential reunion with his college coach Brad Stevens, Bulpett continues. If Hayward signs a three-year deal with the Celtics that includes an opt-out clause, he could sign for the 10-year veteran’s maximum in 2020, Bulpett notes. The Celtics could alternatively put together a big package to trade with the Pacers for Paul George if George is willing to stay in Boston after he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer, Bulpett adds.
In other news around the Atlantic Division:
- It’s unlikely that the Sixers will make a run at veteran power forward Ersan Ilyasova in free agency, according to Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com. While Ilyasova lifted their offense and aided in Dario Saric‘s development before he was traded to the Hawks this season, the Sixers want to maintain flexibility with their frontcourt group. Ilyasova will be seeking a multi-year commitment and security after being traded around the league in recent years, Camerato adds.
- Free agent point guard Kyle Lowry could wind up with the Clippers if the Raptors don’t re-sign him and Chris Paul heads elsewhere in free agency, Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun opines. Lowry could also be a fit with the Spurs if Paul declines to play there, Simmons continues. On a separate note, Toronto could wind up signing a veteran shooting guard such as Kyle Korver or Vince Carter because of their ability to make 3-pointers, Simmons adds.
- Forbes magazine estimates the value of the Sixers’ franchise has jumped to $800MM, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays. That’s an increase of over $500MM than the purchase price for the franchise in 2011, Pompey notes. The team’s value could continue to rise if Ben Simmons becomes a star player, according to the magazine.