Title: Possible double-agent Nigel Hayes making the most of his time with Raptors
Date: March 13, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Nigel Hayes switching sides in a heated G League rivalry thanks to a 10-day contact from the Raptors.
MISSISSAUGA — Nigel Hayes was standing in the left corner opposite the Raptors 905 bench. It was the same place he stood on Jan. 31, at Hershey Centre, when an offensive rebound made its way to him. On that occasion, Hayes beat the buzzer with a late corner heave — toe on the line, mind you — lifting his Westchester Knicks, New York’s G-League squad, to a 101-99 win over the 905.
That three isn’t the only bad memory the 905 have of Hayes from his Knicks tenure this season. A top forward in the G League, Hayes hammered the 905 across a four-game season series that saw the teams split 2-2 with a tied composite score, as close as any potential Eastern Conference finals preview can be. He averaged 18.8 points in those games, hit 13 threes and ensured the Knicks maintained their grip on the top seed in the conference, a precious perch that lends a first-round bye and helps a team avoid a dramatic one-game opening-round playoff series.
“He’s an OP!” Raptors 905 guard Negus Webster-Chan yelled in the tunnel leading to the 905 locker room before Saturday’s game in Mississauga.
An operative, in other words. A spy. Someone sent from the Knicks to either steal the 905’s playbook or sink their chances of coming back in the East.
“Big-time players make big-time plays,” is all Hayes will offer about his game-winner. If he’s a traitor, he’s not letting on.