Gordon Hayward on the Pacers’ radar?



Photo: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics could hit the market this offseason and the Indiana Pacers may choose to eye the Indiana native.

Last summer, the Celtics signed Kemba Walker to a four-year, $141 million contract.

Last fall, Jaylen Brown got a four-year, $115 million extension and there’s still the expected extension for rising star Jayson Tatum.

That leaves some uncertainty around keeping Hayward in terms of the financials.

If he were to move on, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star (via NBA Sports Boston’s Celtics Talk Podcast) indicates that the Pacers would have a level of interest.

“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 can play multiple positions and has versatility that would be valuable alongside the Pacers core of players.

“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.”

Other than Hayward’s local Indiana roots, the main reason he would fit with the Pacers is his ability to shoot.

“The Pacers don’t get up enough 3’s,” Michael said. “They’ve acknowledged that often. They need a true 3-point shooting forward or a guy who can slide in. Because of that, a guy like Hayward would work despite his connections to Indiana. With him, that would be a cherry-on-top situation. They need more shooters; long ball shooters.”



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