Boston Celtics’ forward Gordon Hayward is entering the final year of the four-year $127 million contracts he signed back in 2017. Early expectations were that Hayward would pick up his $34 million player option and remain with the Celtics for the 2020-2021 season. However, recent rumors have stirred about the 30-year-old potentially opting out.
Gordon Hayward offseason decision
Hayward battled through injuries this season, playing only 52 games in the regular season due to a broken hand and then missing 12 playoff games after spraining his ankle. He averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game on a career-high 50 percent shooting on the season.
If Gordon Hayward decides to return for the final year of his contract, the Celtics would have almost no cap space to bring in new players during free agency, opening up the idea of exploring trades. Boston currently holds three first-round picks (14, 26, 30) in the upcoming draft on November 18, which could bolster a Hayward trade.
On the other hand, opting out and testing free agency might benefit Hayward more. He is currently in his prime and showed flashes this season that he can still play at a high level. This may be his last chance to sign another massive contract.
While the Celtics would prefer Hayward to opt-out of the final year of his contract, the number of trade pieces and the likelihood of a trade being made would help them no matter which way Hayward goes. The emergence of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown last season has allowed the Celtics to feel comfortable moving on from Hayward and strengthening other positions.
The struggles to set a start date for the 2020-2021 season have pushed back the start of free agency, however, the draft is approaching rapidly, and therefore, Hayward will need to make his decision sooner rather than later.