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Oct 22, 2020

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Report: Pacers interested in Gordon Hayward trade

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Live fact-checking of the final debate between Trump and Biden Workers who lost jobs because of COVID-19 find new careers in these fields Report: Pacers interested in Gordon Hayward trade

Gordon Hayward could soon be back to playing basketball in Indianapolis.

© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports Could Gordon Hayward be heading back to his hometown of Indianapolis?

Ian Begley of SportsNet New York reported on Thursday that some within the Indiana Pacers organization have interest in trading for Hayward.

But Begley adds that it is unknown if the Boston Celtics are open to moving him.

Hayward, 30, attended college at Butler University, less than 10 miles away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse. He just completed his second full season with the Celtics, posting healthy averages of 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. Hayward is expected to pick up his $34.2 million player option for 2020-21.

The Pacers are facing uncertainty with the future of their current star wing. Acquiring another one like Hayward would probably be their ideal scenario.

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Related slideshow: The 25 highest-paid NBA players (Provided by Yardbarker)

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Full screen 1/26 SLIDES © Kim Klement/USA Today Images The 25 highest-paid NBA players Every NBA regular is well paid, but some guys are bringing home the bacon big time. These are the 25 most lucrative NBA contracts based on average value. Figures are via Spotrac and include extensions that have not yet kicked in. 2/26 SLIDES © Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY Sports Karl-Anthony Towns The Timberwolves hit it out of the park when they drafted KAT first overall out of Kentucky. While his defense could use some work, his offensive skill is at the top of the league, especially for a big man. That’s why the Wolves were willing to give him this big deal — five years, $158 million — after his rookie contract expired. 3/26 SLIDES © Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Jamal Murray Murray isn’t as good as Nikola Jokic, but he was drafted higher and also signed his deal a couple of years later. The average value of contracts tend to rise from year to year. Fortunately for the Nuggets, Murray took his game to the next level during the 2020 playoffs. Now his contract feels even more justified. He signed the same five-year, $158 million deal as Towns (and other guys who got the max after their rookie deals ran out). 4/26 SLIDES © Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Gordon Hayward Hayward and the Celtics both suffered bad blows right after this deal, worth $128 million, was signed. In his first game with Boston, Hayward suffered a brutal leg injury. He’s never quite been the same since, though his skills have popped up here and there. Slideshow continues on the next slide 5/26 SLIDES © Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Kyle Lowry A lot of people want to give Kawhi Leonard all the credit for Toronto winning the title, but he couldn’t have done it without Siakam and Lowry. Lowry is arguably the most beloved Raptor ever. Sure, he’s not as flashy as Vince Carter, but he’s stuck it out in Toronto and that has earned him the love and admiration of Toronto fans and an average salary of $33 million. However, Lowry will be a free agent this offseason. 6/26 SLIDES © Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports C.J. McCollum McCollum is forever playing second fiddle to Damian Lillard, who you will see later on this list. The Lehigh alum has averaged over 20 points per game in each of the last four seasons and is also one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA. He will earn around $33 million on average through the rest of his deal. 7/26 SLIDES © Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Kyrie Irving Kyrie is polarizing, both in his play and in his personality. There is a reason he’s basically been drummed out of two towns, and he hasn’t exactly gotten along great with his teammates in Brooklyn. Still, there will always be somebody to tolerate Irving given his ability. Few people can attack the basket like Kyrie, who makes around $34 million a year. 8/26 SLIDES © Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Paul George George is the first player on this last who signed his huge deal with a different team than his current one. PG, who will make $34 million this year, signed his deal with the Thunder but has since been traded to the Clippers (at Kawhi Leonard’s behest). He and Kawhi are a true dynamic duo, as they are both elite players on both sides of the court. Although, people will complain about his performance in the playoffs once again. 9/26 SLIDES © Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports Blake Griffin Speaking of the Clippers, Griffin signed his hefty contract, worth $171 million, with L.A. However, he has since been traded to the Pistons. His first full season in Detroit went really well, as he averaged 24.5 points per game. Unfortunately, this season he suffered through injuries and played in only 18 games — and there are still a couple of years left on the deal. Slideshow continues on the next slide 10/26 SLIDES © Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Kawhi Leonard Kawhi has played things pretty perfectly. He forced his way out of San Antonio, went to Toronto and completely salvaged his reputation. Leonard was great, and he helped the Raptors win their first title. Then he took over the offseason by signing with the Clippers and getting Paul George to join him. Plus, he’s normalized “load management” and yet he’s still getting over $34 million per season. 11/26 SLIDES © Russell Isabella/USA TODAY Sports Pascal Siakam Nobody would have seen this coming when Siakam was drafted by the Raptors. In fact, in his rookie season he spent time in the G League. However, in his third season he won Most Improved Player, and some thought he could arguably win it again in 2020 based on how he’s turned himself into one of the best players in the NBA. He signed a $138-million contract extension last year. 12/26 SLIDES © Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports Jimmy Butler Butler is another guy who is clearly a great player but seems to burn out wherever he goes. Case in point, the 30-year-old is already on his fourth team. Players as good as Butler rarely move around that much. So far, Butler has earned his contract on the court, even though his average salary is over $34 million per year. It seems like he's fitting in for once, and he led Miami to its best season since LeBron left. 13/26 SLIDES © Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Kemba Walker Playing in Charlotte, Walker was often overlooked. It’s not like the Hornets are ever on TV. And yet he was an All-Star in his last three seasons with the Hornets and then did it again in his first season with the Celtics, his current team. He will make $35 million this season. 14/26 SLIDES © John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Khris Middleton Right now Middleton is the highest-paid player on the Bucks, on a five-year, $178 million deal. Sure, that’s because Giannis is on his rookie deal still, and there are questions if the Bucks will be able to afford to re-sign him. That doesn’t mean Middleton isn’t worth the money. A second-round pick who was once an afterthought in a trade, he’s turned into one of the best players in the league. Maybe it’s a little surprising he’s quite this high up the list, but nobody can quibble with his contract. Slideshow continues on the next slide 15/26 SLIDES © Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Ben Simmons Yes, Simmons can’t shoot. Yes, he’s extremely hesitant to shoot threes. On the other hand, who cares? He’s an elite passer who can defend all five positions. The man is the size of a center with the passing skills of an All-Star point guard. Even if he never learns to shoot, and he’s still young, he’ll still be a great player in this league. He signed a five-year extension last year worth $179 million. 16/26 SLIDES © Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Bradley Beal People seem to think that it is inevitable that Beal will leave Washington eventually, and he was talked about as a trade target before signing his new deal, worth around $127 million. There's two years left on that extension, which paying him an average of almost $36 million. Beal is a great player, but with John Wall’s injuries, and onerous contract, it seems very unlikely he’ll be able to win with the Wizards. 17/26 SLIDES © Sergio Estrada/USA TODAY Sports Tobias Harris With all due respect to Harris, a fine player, he’s a perfect example of a guy hitting the market at the right time. He’s never been an All-Star and has averaged 20 points per game only once in his career. However, he was a free agent last summer, and the 76ers knew they couldn’t keep everybody. The did hold on to Harris though, which meant he got a deal worth a whopping $36 million per season. 18/26 SLIDES © Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Klay Thompson Thompson has done some crazy stuff in his career. One time he scored 37 points…in one quarter. He’s a great shooter and a perfect foil to Steph Curry. Part of that is his defensive skill. Curry is not a stalwart on that end, but Thompson has made the All-Defense Second Team once. He signed a five-year, $190 million deal last summer. 19/26 SLIDES © Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports LeBron James Obviously, any team would love to give LeBron as much money as possible. When we’re talking these top-level deals, we’re talking guys who are getting the maximum possible. The NBA has limits on individual contracts, and a luxury tax, which is why LeBron is making “only” $38 million per season with the Lakers. They didn’t have his Bird rights or anything, but James was willing to make the move to play for the legendary franchise. 20/26 SLIDES © Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports Chris Paul Some people say Paul’s contract is an albatross. After all, he’s 35 and won’t be a free agent until the summer of 2022. On the other hand, he’s still an All-Star-level player. Yes, he’s lost a step, and he’s likely to lose another before his contract, worth $160 million, is up. It takes money to afford a veteran who is a future Hall of Famer. 21/26 SLIDES © Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports Stephen Curry Curry is the first player on this list averaging over $40 million a season. That’s what happens when you are maybe the best shooter in NBA history. Steph’s play has helped revolutionize the NBA. He can make a three from anywhere, and that’s how he has won two MVPs and three NBA titles. His first deal he signed was a steal because there were worries about his ankles. In a way, this deal kind of feels like a steal as well. 22/26 SLIDES © Nicole Sweet/USA TODAY Sports Kevin Durant Durant and Curry were teammates for a minute there, and Durant got a couple of rings. He also caught a lot of flak for gunning for a title by joining the Warriors juggernaut. This was in spite of the fact that — shield your eyes, Curry fans — he was the best player on those Golden State teams. Now Durant is with the Nets…or at least he will be once his Achilles heals. His Brooklyn deal is worth $164 million over four years. 23/26 SLIDES © Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Russell Westbrook Hey, another of Durant’s former teammates! Westbrook was the last man standing in Oklahoma City, and he averaged a triple-double for three seasons in a row, something previously unthinkable. He’s now with the Rockets, trying to help James Harden get over the hump. Sure, Westbrook can’t shoot threes, but he knows how to get buckets and earn his average salary of $41 million. 24/26 SLIDES © Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports John Wall This is a deal that we imagine the team that signed it, the Wizards, regrets. It felt a little iffy when Wall was signed to a contract worth an average of almost $43 million per year. He’s tied for the second-largest contract in the NBA. Wall was a great player in his prime, but he’s suffered a brutal, cruel run of injury. During the 2018-19 season it was a season-ending heel injury, and then he tore his Achilles tendon at home while recovering from that injury. Wall has not returned to the court since December 2018, but he’s still getting paid a ton of cash, $43 million. 25/26 SLIDES © Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports James Harden You may not like the way the Beard plays, but you can’t argue with results. He’s led the league in points per game the last three seasons, including averaging a staggering 36.1 points per game last year. When all is said and dude, he will lead the league again in points this year and is going to average comfortably over 30 points...again. Harden’s basketball philosophy melds perfectly with Houston’s. It’s a perfect match, and he is on a four-year, $171 million deal. 26/26 SLIDES © Justin Ford/USA TODAY Sports Damian Lillard We now arrive at the highest-paid player in the NBA. The Blazer is making an average of $49 million per season. He just signed a brand-new extension with a team that owned his Bird rights, which means Portland could pay him more money than any team could pay a player previously. Lillard is deserving of it. He’s an elite shooter and scorer who has made four All-NBA teams already. Now he has the richest deal in the league. 26/26 SLIDES

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Broncos Listed as Potential Fit for All-Pro LB

Getty Denver Broncos GM George Paton speaks during the NFL combine.

The Denver Broncos could make another big trade.

On August 9, linebacker Roquan Smith requested a trade from the Chicago Bears.

On Twitter, Smith made a statement on the situation.

“Unfortunately, the new front office regime doesn’t value me here,” Smith wrote. “They’ve refused to negotiate in good faith, every step of this journey has been “take it or leave it”. The deal sent to me is one that would be bad for myself, and for the entire LB market if I signed it. I’ve been trying to get something done that’s fair since April, but their focus has been on trying to take advantage of me. I wanted to be a Bear for my entire career, help this team bring a Super Bowl back to our city. However, they have left me no choice than to request a trade that allows me to play for an organization that truly values what I bring to the table.”

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Broncos Listed as Fit for Roquan Smith

ESPN’s Mike Clay listed the Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, and Miami Dolphins as logical fits for Smith.

On paper, the Broncos are a great fit for Smith. Inside linebacker remains of the team’s biggest needs. Josey Jewell is locked into one starting spot, but the other spot remains uncertain. At the moment, Alex Singleton, Jonas Griffith, Justin Strnad, Kana’i Mauga, and Barrington Wade are their current options.

Smith is a two-time second-team All-Pro (2020, 2021). Since entering the league in 2018, he has recorded an astounding 524 combined tackles, which is the third-most in the NFL during that span (Bobby Wagner, Darius Leonard).

Smith is also reliable in pass coverage. Last season, he was targeted 66 times in coverage, and he allowed a passer rating of 76.8, which was well below the league average of 90.8. In 2020, he was even more impressive, as he gave up a passer rating of only 59.6.

Over the last three seasons, Smith has four interceptions, and he has allowed zero touchdowns in pass coverage.

At age 25, Smith projects to remain a defensive force for years to come. He would further boost the Broncos’ title odds.

Can the Broncos Acquire Smith?

The Broncos have $7.885 million in estimated cap space (top 51) per Spotrac, and Smith carries a cap hit of $9.735 million. So, the front office will have to free up around $2 million in additional cap space.

There are some moves that the Broncos can make. Releasing defensive tackle Mike Purcell would save $3.573 million. Restructuring Ronald Darby’s contract could also free up approximately $4.2 million.

What will be the Bears’ asking price for Smith? As a premier player entering his season, Smith should command a large return. Conversely, he does not play a premium position. Will teams be willing to part with a first-round pick for an inside linebacker? A second-round pick seems more realistic.

Unfortunately, the Broncos can only offer a 2024 second-round pick due to the Russell Wilson trade. So, other teams should be able to offer the Bears a more compelling package.

Smith would be a great addition for the Broncos, but due to his value, a trade appears to be a long shot.

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