Kevin O’Connor: Knicks interested in Celtics’ Gordon Hayward

Sep 25, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward (20) controls the ball against the Miami Heat during the second half in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It appears the New York Knicks are trying to acquire not only one but two stars in what is shaping out to be a quick rebuild under new team president Leon Rose.

On the heels of multiple reports coming out from New York that the Knicks have weighed on trading for Houston Rockets’ star Russell Westbrook, another star looms on the horizon.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer came out with another bombshell: the Knicks are interested in Boston Celtics’ Gordon Hayward.

“Gordon Hayward, who obviously — there’s already been rumors we’ve heard about maybe him wanting to move on. The Knicks are interested, I’ve heard…,” O’Connor said on The Ringer NBA Show The Mismatch.

Earlier this month, O’Connor’s colleague at The Ringer, Ryen Rusillo, posited on Bill Simmon’s podcast that Hayward is mulling opting out and entering the free agency bereft of superstars. If he opts out, he will become the most prominent name out there, with Toronto Raptors’ free agent Fred Van Vleet not far behind.

“I’ve heard Gordon Hayward does want out, but I don’t know if he’s gonna get the money. He’s not opting out of that huge number unless he knows he’s getting the deal.”

The 30-yeard old Hayward has a $34.1 million player option but maybe looking for long-term security after his stint with the Celtics have been defined by injuries.

The Knicks will still have a cap space to offer Hayward even if they absorb the remaining massive $132.7 million left in Westbrook’s original five-year contract.

Hayward averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in 52 games for the Celtics last season.

The lure of New York for Hayward has become brighter after Johnnie Bryant, the former Utah Jazz assistant coach, joined the Knicks. Bryant is credited for Hayward’s development into an All-Star while he was in Utah.

Hayward has also been linked to Indiana Pacers in a potential trade for center Myles Turner.

Hayward’s future in Boston has become murky after O’Connor reported in his Mock Draft that the Celtics are planning to reroute their three draft picks for New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday.

“The Celtics have offered up their three first-round picks (nos. 14, 26, and 30) in trades to try and move into the lottery, but multiple league sources say they intend to reroute that pick to the Pelicans in exchange for Jrue Holiday. If Boston is able to acquire the necessary assets, it’d still need to add salaries to make a deal work. Could that mean Gordon Hayward or Kemba Walker could be on the move?” O’Connor wrote.

The league’s transaction window is expected to be open beginning Monday.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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