Danny Ainge in a bind to make way for Gordon Hayward

Getting Gordon Hayward is great, it gives the Celtics another All-Star who can take the scoring load of Isaiah. However, it means that someone has to go. The Celtics have to clear just under three million in salary to give Gordon Hayward max money. The three most likely candidates to get traded are Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, and Jae Crowder.

In a pure basketball sense trading Crowder would be the logical move. The Celtics have 4 SF’s now in Crowder, Hayward, Brown, and Tatum. Moving Crowder frees up more playing time for the developing Brown and Tatum and he was going to see his minutes reduced anyways with the addition of Hayward.

However, Jae Crowder has one of if not the best contract in the NBA. He is locked into roughly seven million a year for the next 3 years, which is an absolute steal for a player of his caliber. In addition to that, both Bradley and Smart are free agents at the end of this year and have big raises coming their way with the Celtics already hard pressed against the cap. (Not to mention the Isaiah contract situation.)

Danny Ainge also has little to no leverage in this situation as everyone in the league knows he has to clear cap space asap. One interesting team might be the Houston Rockets. The Rockets have a promising young center in Clint Capela, a player who I am sure they value greatly. However, Capela saw Nene eat into his minutes during the playoffs and his play seemingly regressed during the second half of the season. The Rockets also only have one SF on the roster in a 32-year-old Trevor Ariza and just lost their defensive specialist in Patrick Beverly. Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder would both seemingly fit needs for the Rockets and the Celtics have the extra assets (LAC Pick, MEM Pick) to sweeten the deal to Darryl Morey’s liking.  Both Morey and Ainge are too good of GM’s to get fleeced by the other but there might be a deal here to be struck that makes both teams better.