The NBA offseason began like a game a Russian Roulette. Danny Ainge, who has somehow been labeled as the best general manager in sports history, looked to be the biggest loser when all the headlines became a reality. However, with some of his latest moves, Boston fans think he may be gaining back some of his momentum. I think it’s still too early to tell.
I wasn’t the only one who was skeptical when the trade was announced with Boston and Philadelphia swapping first-round picks in this year’s draft, but I knew I was in the minority. The first thing that came into my mind was that Boston knew who they were going to select and that player would be there at #3. This player was Josh Jackson. However, after all the hype, Jackson decided to cancel his workout with Boston, which enraged Ainge enough to change paths and select Jayson Tatum. If anyone has been following the summer league, you already know how that move is panning out. Tatum has been scoring at will and has given the city of Boston more reason to get excited.
With all this rookie excitement from the draft then came free agency. Again, Ainge was supposed to be pulling the trigger on a deal for PG-13, which later fell apart and left the whole NBA wondering how he would recover. He was always a savvy player and has taken that same trait with him inside the front office. When the chips seemed to be staked low, he put them all in and snatched up Gordon Hayward. Hayward is an above average player who can shoot the rock from anywhere on the court. Is he a game changer like PG-13? For my money … no!
When Hayward decided to let his decision be known, he caught a lot of criticism by the fans and his former teammates. Even his ex-Jazz teammate, Trevor Booker, who left Utah for the Brooklyn Nets in free agency last summer, had his own take. Here’s what Booker told The Salt Lake Tribune for a retrospective “look inside” Hayward’s free agency:
“Gordon’s a guy who doesn’t really want to be the man. … I’m not sure he wanted a franchise on his shoulders. Gordon’s a great player, and one of the best players in the league. But I wasn’t really surprised at his choice. I heard the rumors.”
If the above statement has any credence, Boston certainly didn’t get the leader they needed. Even if they did, there is still the fallout of how his new teammates feel about the addition.
This signing left us all to wonder how the roster would look when you still have guys like Smart, Crowder, Brown and Tatum. It seems to have a logjam of players who play similar styles. Recently, Avery Bradley was sent packing, but this was more of a move to clear cap space for the eventual extension for Isaiah Thomas.
Either way you look at it, if you have an opportunity to sign a Top 20 talent, you have to look into the prospects of what it would take. I personally think Gordon is a more of a piece than a leader on a NBA roster. That being said, the Eastern conference will be shaping up to be very competitive, especially after the eventual LeBron move or regression. Teams like Philadelphia, Washington, Milwaukee and Boston all have a chance to be in the mix to represent the conference in the next 2-3 years. However, if you’re asking me if Hayward was the missing piece for Boston to become the leader of the pack, I would have to emphatically say NO! Thoughts?
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