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NBA Free Agency: Gordon Hayward can help Pacers get past Paul George

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Gordon Hayward is about to cash in big time on his immense talent, but where he ends up could have a ripple, check that, tidal wave effect on the Pacers.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Former Brownsburg and Butler star, Gordon Hayward is in position to help his hometown team, even if it isn't on the court. While Hayward hasn't officially ruled out a return to Utah, he is also strongly considering signing with Miami or Boston.

Free agent negotiations begin on Saturday and varying reports say Hayward is scheduled to meet with Miami first followed by meetings with Boston and Utah before anyone lights a firework on the Fourth of July.

A local source close to Hayward surprised me a month ago saying the Hayward was leaning toward joining the Heat. So his initial meeting in Miami is no surprise, although a lot has changed in a month.

Since then, Paul George let Pacers know he was ready to move on - and no, the Pacers weren't going to sign Hayward if PG stayed - and the Boston Celtics have put themselves in position to both sign Hayward and trade for PG.

Of course, several teams are hoping to deal for Paul George now, although getting to a deal that also helps the Pacers is a stretch in most cases.

Houston put themselves in the mix after landing Chris Paul on Wednesday. Cleveland still wants PG next to LeBron with reports that both would extend their contracts if the Cavs can make it happen. Oh, and the Lakers still hope PG just shows up next season without worrying about Bird rights or giving up anything to land him.

But who cares what other teams want, let alone PG. This is about the Pacers and their effort to recover from the 'gut punch' PG delivered in mid-June. There is only one primary option to fortify the Pacers' rebuild effort and that is for Hayward to sign with the C's and then for the Pacers to deal PG for valuable draft picks and a player or two.

One likely won't happen without the other, but Hayward has to make the first move. Brad Stevens will once again try to recruit Hayward but this time with mega millions to offer. If the two former Hoosiers can team up again in Boston, they will become the latest 'Hometown Heroes' for helping set the future course of the Pacers.