BOSTON (CBS) — Does Gordon Hayward want to continue his career in Boston, or try to cash in on the open market? Turns out, we’ll know his desires by 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Decision day has arrived for Hayward, who has until this afternoon to decide if he wants to pick up his $34.1 million player option with Boston or become a free agent. Whatever he decides, it will be the first big domino for the Celtics offseason.
If Hayward chooses to opt out, he’ll reportedly have plenty of suitors.
“All I can say is that a lot of people want him,” a league source told The Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy on Monday evening.
Gordon Hayward has not decided on his $34.1 M option yet, and has until 5 p.m. tomorrow to exercise it. The Celtics have myriad options of their own to still consider. League source: "All I can say is that a lot of people want him."
— Mark Murphy (@Murf56) November 16, 2020
The forward is coming off his best season with the Celtics and most efficient year since his Utah days, averaging 17.5 points off 50 percent shooting (38 percent from three-point range) to go with 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists over 52 games. He does a lot of everything on the floor, and when healthy, he’s a valuable asset for a team in win-now mode.
Hayward opting out would leave the Celtics with nothing to show for the max free agent they signed three years ago. That would not be good for Boston.
Hayward opting in could lead to several different scenarios as well, including some where Hayward isn’t playing in Boston next season. Hayward and the C’s could potentially play out the season and discuss his future next summer, or they could discuss an extension now, adding more years at less money on his deal. Or, it’s possible that he could opt in and then work with the Celtics to find a suitable trade partner, or Danny Ainge could simply use Hayward’s expiring contract as an intriguing trade chip. In either of those two scenarios, the Celtics would be able to get something in return for a player who doesn’t want to be in Boston anymore.
But it all has to start with Hayward making his decision, and that will happen at some point on Tuesday.