The Knicks should have $40 million heading into free agency on Friday. Will they be spending a chunk of it on Gordon Hayward?
According to The Athletic, Hayward opted out of the final year of his contract with the Celtics, worth around $34 million.
Now that he has opted out, Hayward can either work with the Celtics on a sign-and-trade to another team or he can leave the Celtics as a free agent.
Some teams had been under the impression that the Celtics would work out a sign-and-trade to send Hayward to a new destination, with a multi-year contract.
Since Hayward opted out, it’s reasonable to assume that he’s confident that he’ll have a strong contract offer from the Celtics or a team with cap space, like the Knicks. Or he expects that the Celtics and another team will work out a sign-and-trade.
Prior to the draft, some Knicks decision-makers had interest in acquiring Hayward via trade, SNY sources confirm.
Now that Hayward has opted out, New York is a potential landing spot for Hayward via free agency. And some with the Knicks have interest in signing Hayward as a free agent.
The unknown here is whether the Celtics are talking to another team to facilitate a sign-and-trade.
But, again, Hayward wouldn’t have opted out of his $34 million option without knowing that there was a strong possibility of a sign-and-trade or if a team was going to make him an offer in free agency.
The Hawks or Hornets could have the cap space to sign Hayward in free agency.
Yahoo! Sports reported earlier this week that the Hawks had interest in Hayward. SNY reported a few weeks ago that Indiana was among the teams that has interest in acquiring Hayward via trade.
The Ringer and the New York Times earlier reported that New York was among the teams that had interest in acquiring Hayward.
WHY DID NYK TRADE SECOND ROUND PICK?: There was some confusion over New York’s decision to trade the No. 33 pick on Wednesday for a 2023 second-round pick. The thinking may have been that the Knicks didn’t think that they had a roster spot for the player they’d take there, so they decided to use the asset in a later draft. The pick will be coming from the Pistons. By 2023, the draft may also feature high school players.
WHAT ABOUT PINSON?: New York waiving Theo Pinson on Thursday was interesting. They’d waived Allonzo Trier and signed Pinson. At the time, it was reasonable to expect Pinson to get a long look with the Knicks. Or for his salary to be used in a trade. Neither of those things happened. It’s fair to assume that Pinson didn’t show the coaches enough during practices in the bubble to earn a 2020-21 roster spot.
TAJ REUNION?: There is some mutual interest between members of the Knicks organization and Bobby Portis on a new contract for 2020-21. There is also some mutual interest between members of the organization and Taj Gibson on a new deal for 2020-21. The Knicks may consider re-signing Payton and Ellington at lower contracts.
BENCH SCORING: One under-the-radar name to keep an eye on during free agency? Guard/forward Jordan McRae. When Bradley Beal was out last season, McRae averaged 20.2 points and hit 45 percent of his threes to go with 3.1 assists and 4.8 rebounds. He showed consistent evidence that he can provide a spark as a reserve.