Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
Indiana Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard provided some insight into his team’s attempt to orchestrate a sign-and-trade with the Boston Celtics for Gordon Hayward.
“We pursued [a Hayward trade] as hard as we possibly could,” Pritchard told Bob Kravitz of The Athletic on Wednesday.
“Other than that, between two teams, I feel like that’s a very private thing. I don’t like when it gets out in the media.”
Hayward, who was on the Celtics from 2017-2020, declined his 2020-21 player option to become a free agent. Word emerged that the Pacers were in the mix to land Hayward via a sign-and-trade, although that never came to fruition.
Pritchard added more insight:
“I don’t want to go into specific people, but if you can add a player who materially improves you, you have to take a shot and not be afraid.
“It hurt a little more this time because the feedback was that he [Hayward] really wanted to be here. … It just can’t come at a cost that it’s so debilitating, it doesn’t make sense.”
Hayward eventually signed a four-year, $120 million contract with the Charlotte Hornets.
The Pacers have been on the precipice of making a few big offseason moves. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report wrote that Indiana guard Victor Oladipo, who will be a free agent in 2021, was involved in trade scenarios with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Fischer noted that Donte DiVincenzo, George Hill and the draft’s No. 24 overall pick were on the table for Oladipo.
However, the Pacers have largely stood pat outside of replacing head coach Nate McMillan with Nate Bjorkgren. Indiana notably added Duke guard Cassius Stanley with the No. 54 pick in the NBA draft and re-signed wing Justin Holiday. The Pacers also dealt big man TJ Leaf and a second-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Jalen Lecque.
Ultimately, Indiana is running it back in 2020-21 with the core that finished fourth in the Eastern Conference standings. Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner and Victor Oladipo will lead the way as Indiana looks for a return postseason trip.
The 2020-21 season begins on Dec. 22.