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Hornets rolling behind Hayward and Rozier. Why didn't Boston keep them?


 Despite the fact that the Celtics have the second-best record in the NBA (7-3, behind the Lakers), I still wonder what might have been if Boston had been able, and inclined, to retain Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier. In my December article, after the Charlotte Hornets upset the Brooklyn Nets, I cynically asked the question, "Why can't the Celtics get (and keep) players (Hayward and Rozier) like that?" Now I mean it.

Charlotte sits in sixth place in the East with a 6-5 record and have won their last four games, including last night's 109-88 win over the Knicks. Gordon had 34 points in that one, hitting 11-of-17 from the field, 2-of-2 on treys and 10-of-10 from the foul line.

Hayward is averaging All-Star-like numbers this season:

21.4 PPG (49&/38%/91%), 5.4 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.5 SPG 

Rozier is not that far behind this year:

20.3 PPG (47%/44%/77%), 3.3 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.5 SPG

Admittedly, if the Celtics had been able to retain both players, it is possible that they may not have gelled as well as they have with the Hornets. But Charlotte leads the NBA in assists per game this season at almost 29 APG. They play as a team, something the Celtics are just starting to latch onto. 

Despite Gordon's horrible luck with injuries in Boston, for a player that would appear as a good fit on any team, he seemed out of place with The Green. Terry was sent to Charlotte on a sign-and-trade deal for Kemba Walker. As skilled and likable as Kemba is, his age and ankle woes may not make that transaction one of Danny Ainge's best, all-time.

The season is young and extremely disjointed, thanks to the negative effects of COVID-19. And there are already rumblings of Terry being sent away from Charlotte via trade. The Hornets could still falter, but the major question here is, not so much why the Celtics can't land star players, but but rather, why can't they keep them?




Hayward &

Comments

  1. Hayward & Rozier left solely because Brad Stevens didn’t trust them enough to have primary roles on this team.

    Hayward is clearly not a number 3 option; He’s top two, however those spots were given to Tatum and Brown. At the time Hayward was clearly a better option than Brown. Rozier was dumped for Kyrie and then Kemba.

    Just imagine had we kept Rozier last year we could have used all of Kemba’s money to build a very solid bench.

    However the way the roster looks right now (and the cohesiveness on this team) I feel like all the bumps in the road are going to work out for the best.

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    Replies
    1. Had Boston not signed and traded Rozier for Kemba and kept him they would not have had a significant amount of money to build their bench, but definitely enough to make it look more respectable today. Probably 12-16 million, depending on if Rozier wound up with a smaller contract due to Boston just waiting out the RFA market for him. His cap hold was something like 10 million, so if they acted fast (before he signed an offer sheet) they may have been able to add two more 8-12 million pieces. Was one of them going to be any better than just keeping Mook? I doubt they'd have been able to lure Vucevic away from the Magic at same $ minus one year. Would've been looking at 1-2 guys like Mook, Thad Young, Garrett Temple and Jeremy Lamb. Despite his knee concerns I'm still happy we have Kemba.

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  2. I honestly remain optimistic about the near - and far - future. The pieces are there. A lot of what took place was bad luck and unfortunate timing. But I still worry about Kemba's knee issues.

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