What would a Celtics-Hornets sign-and-trade involving Gordon Hayward look like?

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Darren Hartwell
·2 min read
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What would a sign-and-trade with Charlotte involving Hayward look like? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

If you've been following the Gordon Hayward saga, you may have seen reports that the Boston Celtics are still trying to work out a sign-and-trade with the Hornets after Hayward agreed to a four-year, $120 million contract with Charlotte on Saturday.

That's encouraging news for Celtics fans. If the Hornets sign Hayward outright -- which they can do by stretching Nicolas Batum's contract -- the C's get nothing in return. If Boston and Charlotte work out a deal, though, Danny Ainge could acquire a valuable asset: the traded player exception, or TPE.

Here's what that means: The Celtics technically sign Hayward to a four-year deal worth $30 million per year, then trade him to the Hornets. In return, Boston gets a $30 million TPE, which the team can use at any point in the next year to spend on a player it acquires via trade or free agency.

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(A note: The sides can raise or lower that $30 million figure based on how Charlotte structures Hayward's contract. If he makes $32 million in Year 1, the Celtics would get a $32 million TPE.)

Seems like a good deal for the Celtics, right? They can land some serious talent for around $30 million and would only need to make one or two more moves to afford, say, James Harden and his massive $42.1 million cap hit for 2020-21.

There's a catch, of course: The TPE wouldn't come cheap.

"The Celtics need to pony up an asset to include in the trade with Charlotte and then, almost certainly, another asset to bring a player into the exception," The Athletic's John Hollinger wrote Sunday. "At a minimum, replacing Hayward in their salary structure will cost them two draft picks."

Forsberg: Where do C's go from here after Hayward's exit?

The C's likely would need to send a first-round pick to the Hornets to complete a sign-and-trade and land the TPE. And unless they wait until next offseason to sign a big-name free agent, they'll probably need to fork over more assets to trade for a quality player who would fill the TPE slot.

Parting with those assets may still be worth it to use the TPE on a starting-caliber player who can fill Hayward's void and help the Celtics compete for a title this season. But a sign-and-trade still would come at a further cost for Boston.

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Boston
-176-4.5O 223.5
San Antonio
+145+4.5U 223.5