The Indiana Pacers have become one of the most underrated teams in the NBA over the last couple of years. Speaking specifically of the current season, the Pacers are in competition in the Eastern Conference and have a very talented roster built up. Now, it appears that Gordon Hayward could be on the team’s radar at some point in the future.
In a recent appearance by Indianapolis Star reporter J. Michael on the Celtics Talk Podcast, the Pacers’ beat writer shared that Indiana could have some level of interest in Gordon Hayward if he becomes available.
“They have a bunch of guys that can do multiple positions. You can play an even more small-ball lineup. Say for instance, you moved on (Myles) Turner or (Domantas) Sabonis. Now you have space where you can go with real small-ball lineups and slot guys like him at the (power forward) and come up with some real diverse lineups that could give teams troubles and still have that big man/rim protector underneath to help keep the defensive integrity. The kind of player Hayward is, is the kind of player they would definitely be interested in.”
Obviously, this isn’t a statement that the Pacers are pursuing Hayward or that they absolutely will pursue Hayward. However, it is intriguing that Michael is so adamant that the Pacers would be interested in Hayward.
Hayward has put together a solid 2019-20 NBA season thus far. After suffering a brutal ankle injury a couple years back, it has taken some time for Hayward to get back on track. He has been showing signs of doing just that recently.
At this point prior to the resumption of play, Hayward has averaged 17.3 points per game to go along with 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists. He has shot 50.2 percent from the field overall and has knocked down 39.2 percent of his three-point attempts.
Those numbers show why a team like the Pacers would have a ton of interest in Hayward. He would give them another quality scorer and a guy who can make his teammates better around him.
Another intriguing reason why this fit could make sense is the fact that Hayward is from Indianapolis. He even played his college career for Butler. A homecoming might be of interest for the 30-year-old Hayward.
Expect to hear a lot about the Pacers and Hayward whenever he becomes available. Whether he opts out this offseason or plays out the remainder of his contract with the Celtics, Indiana is a team to keep an eye on when he is free and able to sign anywhere.