Winning the Gordon Hayward sweepstakes on Tuesday was huge for the Boston Celtics. But because the league's salary cap did not increase as much as projected, the team faces tough decisions to create cap room for his reported $128 million contract.
According to a report from ESPN, the Celtics are "aggressively" trying to create cap space by shopping Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley, and have engaged with the Utah Jazz in sign-and-trade talks to acquire Hayward and send Crowder to Utah in return to clear cap space.
Boston renounced the rights to Kelly Olynyk earlier Tuesday, which freed up some room. But it still has plenty of work to handle Hayward's four-year max deal, and it appears the most likely options center around trading or dumping a variation of Smart, Bradley or Crowder. for a deal sending Crowder to Utah, and it makes sense from a position standpoint. The team is loaded at small forward after drafting Jayson Tatum and adding Hayward, as well as the rise of former No. 3 draft pick Jaylen Brown.
Crowder is owed $6.79 million next season, and considering his production as an offensive threat and valuable defensive player, has a team-friendly contract that runs through 2020.
While a potential addition of Crowder would be small consolation for losing an All-NBA performer, it would be some return who could help build something alongside point guard Ricky Rubio and Rudy Gobert.