BOSTON (CBS) — There’s a whole lot of unknown with Gordon Hayward right now. But the more time that passes without him opting in to next season, the more it seems like his time in Boston is over.
Now, there’s at least a potential destination that’s been firmly reported.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo reported that the Atlanta Hawks are “in play” in the pursuit of Hayward.
Interestingly, that pursuit could be in the form of a sign-and-trade, in which the Celtics would receive compensation for Hayward. But Haynes noted that the Hawks have enough cap space to sign Hayward outright in the event that the Celtics are unable to make a sign-and-trade deal with Atlanta or any other team, a scenario in which Hayward becomes an unrestricted free agent.
“Atlanta is seeking an alternative playmaker to incorporate alongside young star Trae Young,” Haynes wrote.
The Celtics and Hayward agreed to move his opt-out deadline from Tuesday to Thursday, as both sides try to navigate the situation in a way that is mutually beneficial. Rumors and speculation have surrounded Hayward wanting to play for his hometown Indiana Pacers.
Sean Deveney of Heavy.com reported that league sources consider the Pacers to be “the favorite” to land Hayward. In that imaginary scenario, big man Myles Turner would likely head to Boston in return.
Yet whether it’s a one-for-one deal or a three-team deal, it seems apparent that Danny Ainge and the Celtics are hard at work to try to recoup something now that their prized free-agent acquisition from 2017 seemingly wants out of Boston.
UPDATE: Hayward opted out of his contract, thus making him a free agent on Friday.