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Gordon Hayward to become a free agent after opting out of $34M player option with Celtics

Gordon Hayward, Celtics

After working with the Boston Celtics to extend his player option deadline until Thursday, Gordon Hayward has opted out of his $34 million player option, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent, according to The Athletic’s Sham Charania.

As the deadline approached on Tuesday for Hayward to submit his decision on his player option, he and the Celtics front office were able to negotiate an extension, allowing the forward to have more time in his decision as whether to remain in Boston or move on. Hayward became a crucial part of the Celtics after they were able to land the All-Star talent in the 2017 offseason.

The Butler University standout ran into an unfortunate, horrific injury during the opening minutes of his debut with the Celtics in 2017, however, and his road to recovery hasn’t been on a marvelous incline since. He’s battled a few injuries in his time since, suffering a broken hand earlier this year and a Grade 3 ankle sprain during the Disney bubble.

Even so, Hayward can still provide a tremendous amount of production on the wing for virtually any team that’s short on forwards. He has tremendous playmaking abilities while also possessing a knock-down jump shot from beyond the arc. Even at 30, he still possesses a unique amount of athleticism that can help teams on open transitions as well.

Hayward saw his usage rate diminish as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown ascended to their young, star-like roles in Beantown. Along with his many injuries, Hayward often made the offense run stagnant once he returned to the lineup.

He’s drawn interest from teams such as the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks, and he’ll likely be expecting a reasonable payday upon signing.