The Heat made a big impression on Gordon Hayward during his free agent visit on Saturday, according to a source close to the player.
Hayward thought the meeting went well and was impressed, the source said. That said, the source said there remains no front-runner and that this will be a tough decision.
“Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who coached Hayward for two seasons at Butler University, is expected to lead a film session in which he'll spotlight the ways Boston can utilize Hayward's talents. Boston brass are expecting key members of their core, including All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas, to be in attendance for the pitch as well.
“The Celtics will lean on technology, including iPads loaded with game film that will show Hayward how he fits into the team's style of play. Stevens often engages in film sessions with potential draftees as they visit, and he will try to show Hayward how he can maximize the All-Star's skill set in Boston.”
Boston’s visit included a stop at Fenway Park. “Celtics-themed video emphasizing what it's like to play in Boston airing on Jumbotron at Fenway,” Forsberg tweeted on Sunday.
ESPN’s Amin Elhassan said on Saturday night that coach Erik Spoelstra was very impressive in Saturday’s meeting with Hayward, explaining how he would be used.
Hayward, who has spent his first seven NBA seasons with the Utah Jazz, will meet with Utah on Monday and then choose among the Heat, Celtics and Jazz.
• Indiana, Philadelphia, Houston and the Heat have expressed interest in Miami free agent center Willie Reed, hoophype’s Alex Kennedy reported Saturday. Since that time, the Rockets used their exception money on P.J. Tucker.
The Heat hasn’t been optimistic about being able to retain him. Miami could dangle its $4.3 million exception, but the Heat might need that money for other needs (depending on Hayward’s decision) and that might not be enough anyway.
• Tyler Johnson, one of five players to greet Hayward at AmericanAirlines Arena on Saturday, told me Friday he’s not thinking about the possibility that the Heat could move his contract (which pays him $5.9 million, $18.9 million and $19.1 million the next three seasons) because “I can only control what I can control. You are not going to get too many players better than me for what I do in my role. I'm not too worried about it.”
Johnson, who is close friends with James Johnson, said “I know I want my big brother back here (James Johnson), no matter what. Obviously, I want to add as many pieces as we can to be able to make a deep run in the East. I'm hoping for the best. If we get J back and do what we can to get Dion [Waiters] back, I would consider that a successful offseason.”
As cap expert Albert Nahmad reported on Twitter, Johnson cannot be traded without his consent, or to the Nets at all, until July 10.
He has a 15 percent trade bonus, which would pay him $3.8 million. The Heat would pay that, but his cap hits would increase to $7.8 million, $21.1 million and $19.2 million, as Albert noted.
• James Johnson and Dion Waiters aren’t the only Heat players on hold while Hayward makes his decision. Miami might need to renounce Luke Babbitt, thus eliminating his Bird rights, to clear out cap space if Hayward signs. If he isn’t renounced, he could re-sign with Miami for any amount with a cap hit of just $1.4 million.
Also, Wayne Ellington’s $6.3 million salary would be good value if Hayward passes on the Heat and Miami has cap space to fill. But if Hayward joins the Heat, it seems unlikely the Heat could afford Ellington unless James Johnson and Waiters sign elsewhere.
The Heat must make a decision on guaranteeing Ellington’s $6.3 million by Friday, the day after the signing moratorium ends.
Here’s my Sunday morning post with news on the Heat flying to Los Angeles to meet with Dion Waiters on Sunday.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz