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REPORT: Gordon Hayward-to-Hawks trade ‘in play’ for Celtics

Gordon Hayward, John Collins, Trae Young, Hawks, Celtics

Boston Celtics veteran swingman Gordon Hayward had his $32.4 million player option deadline on Tuesday extended, sparking a debate over a potential deal. Now the upstart Atlanta Hawks have emerged as a possible destination.

Per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Hawks are “in play” for the 30-year-old Hayward.

According to Haynes, the Hawks, possessing the most cap space available going into free agency, could sign-and-trade for Hayward. In that scenario, Hayward would opt out of his current deal to sign a new one with the Southeast Division club.

Hayward signed a mammoth of a contract with the Celtics after many years with the Utah Jazz back in July of 2017. It’s unclear whether the Butler product plans to exercise his $32.4 million player option or not, but given the capsizing free-agent market due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the economic state of the NBA, one would think Hayward opts into the expensive deal. Perhaps a trade lined up with Atlanta dashes that opt-in idea in favor of a new contract.

The Hawks possess the No. 6 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft—maybe a dangling piece for the Celtics in a potential deal for Hayward. Led by first-time All-Star Trae Young, the Hawks did not have the scenario they envisioned in the former fifth-overall pick’s sophomore campaign, but the rebuilding team could get a big boost with the veteran appeal of Hayward on the roster.

The Celtics saw Hayward limited during his tenure in Boston, as multiple injuries derailed what was supposed to be a promising, competitive atmosphere on head coach Brad Stevens’ team. Stevens coached Hayward during the pair’s shared collegiate days at Butler.