Gordon Hayward

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Hayward, Nets, Vaughn

Raptors big man Serge Ibaka is confident his team will be ready for the NBA’s resumed season in Orlando later this month, telling reporters in a conference call that his teammates are in great shape and are ready to push for a repeat.

“I saw just how everyone is in great shape,” Ibaka said, as relayed by Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “They came here in great shape and as soon as we got here everyone was starting to put in work.

“I’ve been in the league for 11 years. You can see when people’s locked in and they are ready mentally, and when they are not. … So I can tell you right now, mentally, everybody is ready. Everybody is ready.”

Toronto won the 2019 NBA championship with a core of Ibaka, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, and others. Although Leonard and Danny Green have since moved on, the team remains at the forefront of contention in the Eastern Conference.

Prior to the season being suspended on March 11, Toronto held a 46-18 record, good for second-best in the East and third-best in the league. COVID-19 will force every team in the league to adjust for the planned resumption, and the Raptors are no exception.

“Honestly it’s really concerning,” Ibaka said of the virus. “Hopefully everybody has to follow the rules, every player, when we get in the bubble in Orlando, we can respect all the notes that they’re going to give us. But I have my daughter who lives here in Orlando, and it’s kind of scary a little bit. It’s something where you have to make sure you look at it.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston explores the three-year Boston tenure of Gordon Hayward, who originally signing a deal to join the Celtics in July of 2017. “I can’t believe it’s been three years already, to be honest,” Hayward told reporters in a conference call. “A lot has happened for me, for my family.”
  • The Nets are exploring potential replacements that can offer frontcourt help behind center Jarrett Allen, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Brooklyn has kicked the tires on multiple free agent centers in recent days, with DeAndre Jordan and Nicolas Claxton both not playing in Orlando this summer. “We have to definitely think about that,” Nets interim head coach Jacque Vaughn said. Sean (Marks) and I talked this morning on a call and we talked about addressing our size and not putting extra demand on Jarrett. So that could definitely be a route we take for sure. It definitely will be a little bit of a stress test for us. Whether that’s the amount of minutes that we play Jarrett Allen at 5, whether it’s being creative at the backup position, it changes rotations.”
  • Vaughn has continued to build bonds with Nets stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, working to keep a consistent system throughout the franchise, Lewis writes in a separate article for the New York Post. “My conversations with those guys are generally based around me checking in to see how they’re doing,” Vaughn said. “Some of those conversations lead into basketball, some of those conversations lead into life conversations, some of those conversations might lead into, ‘I have a podcast for you to listen to.’ So it ranges. For me, it’s more of the connection knowing that I’m thinking about them.”

Celtics’ Hayward Anticipates Leaving Campus For Birth Of Child

Celtics forward Gordon Hayward told reporters today, including Tim Bontemps of ESPN, that he intends to leave the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus for the birth of his fourth child in September, assuming his team is still alive in the playoffs at the time.

“I’m for sure going to be with her,” Hayward said of his wife Robyn. “… “It’s a pretty easy decision for me on that. I’ve been at the birth of every one of my children and I think there are more important things in life. So we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

Players who receive permission to leave the Orlando campus for a family situation will be required to quarantine for four days upon returning, as Bontemps notes. That hinges on the player being gone for fewer than seven days and testing negative for COVID-19 each day that he’s away. Unexcused absences would require a quarantine period of at least 10 days upon returning to the NBA’s Disney campus — that shouldn’t apply to Hayward, but he could still miss at least a couple games.

The exact due date for Hayward’s child is unclear, but based on the NBA’s tentative schedule, the conference semifinals will take place during the first half of September, with the conference finals taking place during the second half of the month. In other words, Boston – currently the No. 3 seed in the East – is in good position to be playing into September.

According to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, Celtics big man Vincent Poirier and his partner Assouan are due to have their first child on September 17. Poirier told The Athletic that, like Hayward, he plans to leave the campus to attend the birth, so depending on the timing – and Boston’s performance – the team could be down a couple players in September.

Batum, DeRozan Among Players With Earlier Option Decision Deadlines

Most veterans who have player options in their contracts for the 2020/21 season will have an October 17 deadline to either exercise or decline that option. That Saturday represents the second-last day of the 2019/20 league year under the NBA’s new calendar, meaning it would coincide in a normal year with June 29, the usual player option decision deadline.

However, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, some of the players who have to make option decisions for 2020/21 have slightly earlier deadlines. For instance, if the Spurs don’t make the postseason, DeMar DeRozan will be required to make his decision within seven days of the team’s last game, per Marks.

The full list of player options for ’20/21 can be found on our free agents page, but here are the options which must be exercised or declined before October 17, according to Marks:

The rest of this season’s player option decisions must be made by October 17, a deadline that applies to nearly every team option for 2020/21 as well. The only team options with earlier decision dates are minimum-salary ones for Deonte Burton (Thunder) and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Pistons), which are due by October 15, per Marks.

New Dates Set For Option Decisions, Salary Guarantees, More

As part of the revised Collective Bargaining Agreement terms that the NBA and NBPA have agreed to, a series of option decision deadlines, salary guarantee dates, and other offseason dates and deadlines have been pushed back.

We don’t yet have a full list that outlines how every date and deadline will be adjusted, but in cases where a deadline fell slightly before or after the start of the 2020/21 league year, those dates have been pushed back to coincide with the new start date for the league year, which will begin on October 19 rather than July 1.

For instance, as Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets, player option decisions for Gordon Hayward (Celtics), DeMar DeRozan (Spurs), Mike Conley (Jazz), and Andre Drummond (Cavaliers) will now be due on October 17 instead of June 29. Lakers big man Anthony Davis will have to decide on his 2020/21 player option by October 14, one day after a potential NBA Finals Game 7, Charania adds.

[RELATED: Re-Examining NBA Player Options For 2020/21]

Meanwhile, the salary guarantee date for four Knicks veterans – Reggie Bullock, Taj Gibson, Wayne Ellington, and Elfrid Payton – who currently have $1MM partial guarantees for 2020/21 will be October 17 at 3:00pm eastern time, rather than on June 28, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Additionally, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link) reported over the weekend, traded player exceptions that were set to expire in early July will have their expiry dates moved to corresponding dates in October. For example, since the free agency moratorium will now expire on October 23 instead of July 6, the Warriors‘ $17.2MM TPE that would have expired on July 7 will instead do so on October 24.

[RELATED: Outstanding NBA Trade Exceptions]

There are other deadlines that figure to be closely tied to the new league year as well. For instance, the deadline to tender a qualifying offer to a potential restricted free agent will likely be on October 17 rather than June 29.

Some date adjustments may be trickier to determine and will require further clarification. For instance, some players had been scheduled to receive full or partial guarantees if they remained under contract through August 1. That date may simply be shifted to November 19, one month after the ’20/21 league year begins. But the NBA has proposed opening training camps for next season on November 10, complicating that timeline.

Pacers Interested In Gordon Hayward?

Gordon Hayward has the option to hit the market this offseason and the Pacers may have eyes for the former Butler wing. J.Michael of the Indianapolis Star (via NBC Sports Boston’s Celtics Talk Podcast) indicates that Indiana would have a level of interest in the 30-year-old.

“There’s no doubt (he) would be (a potential target for the Pacers),” Michael said. “…the kind of player Hayward is, is the kind of player they would definitely be interested in.”

Hayward, who has a player option on his deal for next season worth $34.2MM, can play multiple positions and that would be valuable alongside Indiana’s core.

“You can play an even more small-ball lineup,” Michael said. “Say for instance, you moved on (Myles Turner) or (Domantas Sabonis). Now you have space where you can go with real small-ball lineups and slot guys like him at the (power forward) and come up with some real diverse lineups that could give teams troubles and still have that big man/rim protector underneath to help keep the defensive integrity.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic shortening the season, the exact value of the 2020/21 salary cap is to be determined. Same with the following year. Still, Indiana has approximately $122.8MM in guaranteed contracts on the books for next season, which creates obstacles to Indiana outright signing Hayward if he were to opt to hit the market.

Heat Notes: Free Agent Targets, Butler, Olynyk, Restart

Though adding reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to their exciting roster remains the top goal for the Heat in 2021 summer free agency, they have many other viable options if Antetokounmpo is unavailable or uninterested, according to The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.

Even with the prospect of a slight decline in the 2021 NBA salary cap due to the coronavirus pandemic causing a league revenue loss, the Heat should still have the cap space to add a maximum-salary free agent next summer to go along their intriguing core of All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, plus developing rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro.

Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo, who trains in South Florida during the offseason, would be a great fit on the wing along with Butler, Jackson notes. Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, Celtics forward Gordon Hayward, and Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie number among Jackson’s other preferences for free agent additions to the Heat in 2021. Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Thunder guard Chris Paul may be available via trade.

There’s more news out of South Beach:

  • The Heat’s top free agent acquisition of 2019, All-NBA swing man Jimmy Butler, has returned to Miami this week in anticipation of a league restart as Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reports.
  • With just eight non-playoff games left for the top 22 teams, the Heat have officially clinched a playoff berth, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). This means that Heat big man Kelly Olynyk will earn a $400K playoff bonus written into his contract.
  • The Heat’s status for the season restart was explored in another piece from The Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman. Production of Heat game broadcasts will be handled away from the games to accommodate COVID-19 personnel restrictions. Center Meyers Leonard, who injured his ankle during the Heat’s last game to this point, on March 11, has recovered and will be ready once play resumes.

Atlantic Notes: Knox, Durant, Robinson, Hayward

The league’s hiatus has made it much more difficult for new Knicks president Leon Rose to evaluate Kevin Knox, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Rose was unable to get a closer look at the second-year forward and doesn’t know if the 20-year-old is part of the team’s future, Berman adds. Rose must decide prior to the start of next season whether to pick up Knox’s $5.84MM fourth-year option.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Kevin Durant‘s agent and business partner, Rich Kleiman, said it’s unrealistic to think his client can return to action from his Achilles injury this summer, he told Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix. This reiterates what Kleiman said in an ESPN interview last month about the Nets forward. “I promise you, Kevin and I have not talked about that. And I know it sounds crazy, but my assumption has been that wasn’t very realistic,” Kleiman said to Mannix.
  • Mitchell Robinson‘s development may be the biggest argument to remove the interim tag from Knicks coach Mike Miller, Berman writes in a separate story. Robinson has emerged as a foundation piece, according to Berman, and his high school coach, Butch Stockton, believes Miller is primarily responsible for that. “The Knicks have done a real good job developing him and getting toward to his full potential,” Stockton said.
  • Celtics forward Gordon Hayward said the hiatus has allowed him to heal up from lingering knee and foot injuries, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe reports. “That’s one positive from this whole thing is everybody’s been able to recover,” Hayward said. “We haven’t been able to do much, so hopefully everyone is healthy whenever and if ever we get back this year. … This has been good for everybody’s body.”

And-Ones: Olympics, Croatia, Rights Fees, Option Decisions

Free agency issues could limit the roster for Team USA at the Olympics next summer, writes Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. That wouldn’t have been a significant concern this year because of a relatively weak free agent class, but Reynolds notes that LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry and others could be on the open market in 2021.

The Olympics are set to open on July 23 of next year, meaning that training camp will begin early in the month, which marks prime time for free agency decisions. Reynolds suggests that could lead to situations similar to what happened in 2012 with Deron Williams, who couldn’t participate in contact drills until his deal with the Nets was signed.

The U.S. won’t be the only nation affected, Reynolds adds. Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and France’s Rudy Gobert can both opt out in the summer of 2021, while another year of wear and tear could affect Marc Gasol‘s desire to play for Spain.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Croatia’s top division has become the latest international league to call off its season, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. No champion will be declared, and the teams that played in the top division this season will be able to do so again next year.
  • Alex Sherman of CNBC examines how networks are handling the rights fees they paid for games that have been canceled because of the coronavirus. The NBA doesn’t have a provision in its contracts for networks to receive refunds, sources familiar with the deals tell Sherman. While “force majeure” provisions exist, they may not apply to a pandemic. Sherman speculates that even if they can make the argument that they’re entitled to money back, some networks may not pursue it so they can preserve their relationships with the NBA and other leagues. He notes that payments for broadcast rights haven’t been refunded when seasons have been reduced because of labor disputes. “Let’s say it’s a one-time only event, obviously you’re not going to pay,” said former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson. “But what you’re talking when you have a 10- or 15-year agreement, year after year, you work it out in an accommodation of some kind.”
  • In an article for The Athletic, former NBA executive John Hollinger offers predictions on all 41 player and team options for the upcoming offseason. Among the richest deals, Hollinger expects Mike Conley to stay with the Jazz for $34.5MM, Gordon Hayward to opt in for $34.187MM from the Celtics and Andre Drummond to remain with the Cavaliers for $28.75MM. Hollinger predicts Anthony Davis will turn down $28.55MM from the Lakers and sign a new deal with the team, unless the cap number falls so low that it will benefit him to wait for next year.

Atlantic Notes: Smart, Kurucs, Hayward, Dinwiddie

Celtics guard Marcus Smart is doing “great” after testing positive for the coronavirus, coach Brad Stevens told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps and other media members. “He’s great. Great spirits. Joking as always,” Stevens said Friday. Smart is one of 10 NBA players known to have tested positive for COVID-19. Smart revealed his diagnosis on March 19.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets’ Rodions Kurucs was due in Brooklyn court on Monday for his misdemeanor assault case but that proceeding was postponed, Brian Lewis of the New York Post reports. The case has been administratively adjourned due to the pandemic and a new date will eventually be set. Kurucs was arrested last summer on a domestic assault charge.
  • There’s a general sense that Celtics forward Gordon Hayward will opt in to his contract next season, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. Hayward holds a $34MM option. “It’s too much money to pass up,” an unnamed NBA GM told Deveney. “He could get a longer deal if that is what he really wants. But I don’t think the Celtics want to give it to him. … He can opt in this year and then take a big contract next year.”
  • Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie will be in demand on the trade market this offseason, Lewis opines in a separate story. Dinwiddie, who can opt out after next season, has posted career highs in points (20.6 PPG) and assists (6.8 APG).

Southeast Notes: Herro, Butler, Hawks, Jones Jr.

Heat guard Tyler Herro initially feared he might be done for the regular season when he injured his foot, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald tweets. Herro, who suffered the injury on February 3, might be able to take off the protective boot sometime this week, Chiang adds. The 13th pick in last June’s draft, Herro is averaging 13.1 PPG and shooting 39.3% from deep.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Jimmy Butler‘s personality hasn’t changed but he has helped, rather than hurt, the Heat’s team chemistry, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald details. Guard Goran Dragic says the franchise’s culture made Butler fit seamlessly into the locker room. “They push you here. Jimmy is the same,” he said. “If you’re not used to it, it can [be] like, ‘I don’t like him.’ But this is the perfect situation for us and Jimmy. He just wants you and the team to get better.”
  • The Hawks will be looking to accelerate their rebuild during this offseason, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic writes in his latest mailbag. They will likely look to add younger veterans instead of acquiring bad contracts as they did last offseason, Kirschner continues. Davis Bertans, Joe Harris, Gordon Hayward, Evan Fournier and Maurice Harkless are potential targets, Kirschner adds.
  • Re-signing Derrick Jones Jr. and Dragic will likely be at the top of the Heat’s priority list this offseason, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel opines. Negotiations will Jones could be tricky, since Miami wants to protect its cap space for the summer of 2021, when the free agent market could be robust. At his young age, Jones will probably be looking for a long-term contract, Winderman adds.