Blake Griffin re-signs with Clippers, leaving Celtics desperate for Gordon Hayward
It looks like it will be Gordon Hayward or bust for the Celtics in free agency.
The Vertical’s Shams Charania reports the Clippers re-signed Blake Griffin Friday to a five-year, $173 million deal. Though Hayward is believed to be the Celtics’ top target, they also showed interest in Griffin. Isaiah Thomas went as far as to recruit the All-Star forward on Instagram minutes after the Clippers had dealt Chris Paul to the Rockets, urging Griffin to sign with Boston.
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MassLive’s Jay King says the Celtics attempted to schedule a meeting with Griffin, but were unable to nail it down due to differing time tables. Griffin was reportedly anxious to sign quickly, whereas the Celtics are juggling several different priorities.
Boston was also linked to forward Paul George, but ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports the Pacers dealt him to the Thunder Friday in exchange for guard Victor Oladipo and power forward Domantas Sabonis. ESPN’s Zach Lowe speculates the Celtics had a standing offer of Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and one of the protected first-round picks they own from the Clippers and Grizzlies. Boston offered four first-round picks for George at the deadline, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.
With Griffin and George out of the picture, the Celtics will likely now lust heavily after Hayward. Though Brad Stevens coached Hayward at Butler University, former coaches on the staff told the Boston Globe this week they doubt whether Stevens can lure his former player to Boston. The Celtics have a meeting scheduled with Hayward next week.
Though there are questions with Griffin –– he’s missed time in each of the last two seasons due to injury –– he would’ve represented a significant upgrade for the Celtics in the front court. The 2009 No. 1 overall pick has averaged 21.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game during his career. Griffin also appeared to express some interest in Boston, placing it on his Mt. Rushmore of NBA cities during an interview with Barstool Sports.
With cap space to spend and draft picks to trade, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge seems poised to make a big splash. But with Griffin out of the picture, his options on the free agent market begin and end with Hayward.
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Source: GreenStreet Blog