November 20, 2020 | 12:05 PM
After reportedly declining his $34.2 million player option for next season, Gordon Hayward will become a free agent when NBA free agency begins Friday at 6 p.m.
With Hayward becoming an unrestricted free agent, there are three things he could possibly do.
- Hayward could still re-sign with the Celtics.
- If he decides to leave Boston, he could agree to a sign-and-trade in which the Celtics would get something in return.
- He could sign with a new team outright, leaving the Celtics empty-handed.
Here are the latest rumors on Hayward’s future as free agency approaches.
Nov. 20, 12 p.m.:
With six hours until the start of free agency, the Pacers are trying to find ways to acquire Gordon Hayward. The Pacers are roughly $15 million above the $109.1 million salary cap, so they can’t sign him outright and would have the acquire him via a sign-and-trade. Indiana is exploring “sign-and-trade pathways to try acquire Gordon Hayward from Boston,” according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.
Stein also added that the Knicks are still interested in Hayward. They would not have to get Hayward through a sign-and-trade as they have cap space.
Indiana continues to explore sign-and-trade pathways to try acquire Gordon Hayward from Boston, league sources say
The Knicks, as covered here yesterday, remain a suitor for Hayward with their salary-cap space
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 20, 2020
Nov. 19, 7:30 p.m.:
Hayward may end up staying in Boston. His decision to opt out of his contract was seen as a formality and it’s still possible that he returns to the Celtics on a restricted deal, Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald reported. A league source told Murphy that “Gordon doesn’t even know” what he’ll do.
Hayward’s opt-out viewed more as a formality. League source said it’s still possible he returns to C’s in restructured deal, unless, ala Al Horford, he receives home run offer from Atlanta or New York. “Gordon doesn’t even know right now.”
— Mark Murphy (@Murf56) November 19, 2020
Moments prior to his decision to reportedly opt out, the Knicks emerged as a potential landing spot. The Knicks have “been aggressive” in trying to sign Hayward, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.
Stein also reported that if Hayward does opt out, “it’s the strongest signal yet he has a landing spot on a multiyear deal.” In addition to the Knicks, the Pacers are also interested in acquiring Hayward via a sign-and-trade, according to Stein.
The Knicks have been aggressive in their pursuit of Gordon Hayward all week, sources say
Amid a growing belief leaguewide that Hayward will decline his $34 million player option for next season, New York may loom as Hayward’s best option given all the Knicks’ newfound cap space
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 19, 2020
In addition to the Knicks, the Hawks are also interested in signing Hayward, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes.
Atlanta could acquire Hayward through a sign-and-trade, but with the amount of cap space they have, they’re equipped to sign him outright. The Hawks roughly have $44 million in cap space for next season, which is more than enough to sign Hayward outright. Hayward also has “plenty of interest” in joining the Hawks, sources told Haynes.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 17, 2020
The Pacers are the favorites to land Hayward, league sources told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney earlier this week. If Hayward wants to play in Indiana, the place he grew up, the Pacers would have to acquire him through a sign-and-trade because they lack the likely cap space required to sign him.
If Hayward ends up with the Pacers in a sign-and-trade, the deal could involve a third team. The Pacers have placed center Myles Turner and shooting guard Victor Oladipo on the trade market and both could end up in Boston in a potential Hayward sign-and-trade, according to Deveney.
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