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Celtics’ Gordon Hayward likely to pick up $34 million player option

Gordon Hayward, Celtics

NBA execs would be shocked if Gordon Hayward doesn’t pick up his $34,187,085 player option with the Boston Celtics for next season.

After all, Hayward has a bit of an injury history now. So the Celtics swingman would be wise to cash in on that money instead of testing the open market:

“It’s too much money to pass up,” one NBA general manager told Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. “He could get a longer deal if that is what he really wants. But I don’t think the Celtics want to give it to him, they have a lot of young guys to pay and the starting (salary) number on whatever the contract is will not be close to $34 million.

“He can opt in this year and then take a big contract next year. When you look at what he has done since his injury, he has only gotten better. He could get better next year and be ready for the summer of 2021.”

Before the NBA suspended the 2019-20 season, Hayward was averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists for the Celtics. The former All-Star was shooting 50.2 percent from the field, 39.2 percent from beyond the arc and 84.7 percent from the free-throw line.

Hayward signed a lucrative four-year, $127.8 million contract with the Celtics in the summer of 2017. Since signing that deal, Hayward has appeared in just 118 regular season games for Boston.

The Celtics were in the third spot in the Eastern Conference standings prior to play being called. Hayward, who began his career with the Utah Jazz, has career averages of 15.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists.