Pacers ‘continue to explore’ Hayward sign-and-trade

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It doesn’t seem like Gordon Hayward will return to the Boston Celtics organization for the 2020-21 season, but he could return to his home state of Indiana. 

The Indiana Pacers reportedly continue to explore sign-and-trade scenarios to acquire Hayward from the Celtics, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times, who also notes that the New York Knicks remain in play for the former Utah Jazz star. 

Hayward reportedly declined his $34.2 million player option for the upcoming season earlier this week. He’ll become a free agent and can start discussing deals with whatever teams he pleases at 6 p.m. ET on Friday. 

While Hayward could still return to the Celtics, it seems highly unlikely at this point. However, if the Pacers do want to acquire him, they’ll likely have to go the sign-and-trade route because they don’t have much cap space to sign him to a long-term deal otherwise.

Throughout the week it was reported that Boston could end up landing Myles Turner in exchange for Hayward. If Boston is still interested in the 24-year-old, then maybe a sign-and-trade isn’t completely off the table. 

Erin Walsh is a Boston sports fan through and through. Although many think Boston sports fans are insufferable, Erin tries to see things from a neutral perspective. Her passion is hockey, and she believes defense wins championships. In addition to covering sports for Yardbarker, she covers Boston sports for NBC Sports Boston. Follow her on Twitter @ewalsh90