Free agent forward Gordon Hayward prefers to land with the Pacers, but the Knicks have continued to express interest in his services as free agency progresses, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter links).
New York has so far offered lower figures than Indiana, who shares a mutual interest with Hayward, according to Stein. However, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (hat-tip Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports) relayed that the Knicks are actually willing to offer more money — just fewer years on a deal.
In order for Hayward to receive an estimated four-year, $100MM deal from Indiana, a sign-and-trade must occur between the Celtics and Pacers. Boston has expressed interest in adding a center during free agency, and Indiana’s Myles Turner could be included in a potential deal between the teams.
Despite offering lower figures than Indiana, New York has shown a willingness to go beyond their initial two-year offer for Hayward, Stein reports. Hayward, who declined a $34.2MM player option with the Celtics to become an unrestricted free agent, is said to have a big admirer in Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau, Stein adds.
Several teams are discussing sign-and-trade scenarios on the former NBA All-Star, according to Wojnarowski, which means a resolution may not come until the weekend. Hayward could also re-sign with the Celtics on a brand new deal, Wojnarowski cautions. Hayward averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game last season, shooting 50% from the floor and 38% from deep.