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The Pacers lead the Knicks in the Gordon Hayward race



The Knicks may not be fighting Boston for the chance to make the world’s most famous arena – Madison Square Gordon.

The chances for the Pacers to bring former Celtics star forward Gordon Hayward back to Indy home, where he was raised and led Butler to two NCAA Finals Fours, have gained great traction.

According to a source, the Pacers are the frontrunner for Hayward, trying to land him via a sign-and-trade. The Pacers do not have the hood space, but names like Aaron Holiday and Myles Turner have come up.

In fact, they are the only two teams with large cap space to sign the Hayward Knicks and Hawks. The Knicks have an interest in Hayward, and two Jazz alumni are employees of the Knicks. But Hayward prefers to go home.

New assistant general manager Walt Perrin drafted Hayward in 201

0 with the 10th election. And recently hired assistant coach Johnny Bryant coached Hayward for years before traveling to Boston in 2017 and seeing his All-Star career take a decline.

Celtics
Gordon HaywardGetty Images

The Knicks have $ 35 million in cap space into the Friday night opening of free agency. The Post previously reported that the Knicks should have an offer of at least two to three years of $ 20 million per year.

The Knicks are also in the market for a veteran point guard who could be a starter. DJ Augustin, Jeff Teague, Kris Dunn on their list. Goran Dragic has signed again with Miami.

If the Knicks do not land Hayward, they have an interest in Washington’s Davis Bertans, who should meet with the Wizards first at 18

The Knicks also prefer to engage the Celtics in a sign-and-trade where they can throw in some pay. With the elaboration of forward-looking Obi Toppin and the addition of Hayward, Julius Randle becomes more usable.

Hayward, 30, is a perfect addition as a playmaking forward who shoots well from 3-point range and was the All-Star in 2017 before breaking his leg. He averaged 17 points on 50 percent shooting from the field in 2019-20. His recent decline led to speculation that he would sign up for his last $ 34 million last year with Boston, but he threw a curveball by opting out Thursday.

His agent is Mark Bartelstein, who had three clients drop out of the Knicks Thursday in Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis and Wayne Ellington. One of the two, Gibson or Portis, has a legitimate chance of returning on smaller deals.


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