Homecoming for Hayward?

Gordon Hayward is about to hit the open market as the NBA's most coveted free agent, and given his many ties to Indiana, Pacers fans are naturally curious about if he'll return home.

The Pacers have their own in-house questions to address. Jeff Teague is an unrestricted free agent, and will likely command $20M+ per season to be retained. Paul George is under contract, but is entering the final year of that deal, and the team will be trying to sign him to an extension.


Gregg Doyel wrote about it yesterday in the IndyStar. It's almost impossible to imagine a scenario where the Pacers would pay Teague, George, and Hayward, and even paying George and Hayward the max would likely put them over the luxury tax threshold - something Herb Simon has been hesitant to do in the past.

Plus, the Pacers will face stiff competition. Utah has a nice young core, and can pay Hayward the most money. Boston has a deeper roster than Indiana, and is in a better position to contend immediately with the addition of Hayward. Oh, and you may have heard of their head coach, the guy who recruited Hayward when he was a skinny kid with braces at Brownsburg. Miami, and several other suitors will likely emerge as well.

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