This offseason, Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward was expected to cash in with an expensive player-option, which is worth $34 million for this season.
But a lot has changed over the last couple of weeks. According to Ryen Russillo of The Ringer, the worst-kept secret around the NBA was that Hayward wants out in Boston. Despite looking at a possible $30-plus million salary, the veteran forward isn’t thrilled with his current role in Boston.
Therefore, Hayward is ready to gamble on himself and hit the open market. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Hayward will decline his option for next season and will officially become a free agent.
For a guy who has had a fair share of injuries over the last few seasons, that’s quite the risk. While he will more than likely secure a multi-year deal on the market when free agency opens on Friday, Hayward might not see that kind of salary anywhere else.
Perhaps, he’s more focused on having security for the future. As the Celtics have several young up and coming stars approaching their primes, it was becoming apparent that Hayward’s days in Boston were limited, and there was a good chance he wasn’t re-signing beyond next year.
So, where will Hayward end up? According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the New York Knicks have been in “aggressive pursuit” of the veteran forward. While several teams will likely give Hayward’s reps a call, the Knicks have the funds to make the now-former Celtics forward a desirable deal.