Hayward declines $34.2M player option with Celtics

Carrie Guzman
November 20, 2020

Gordon Hayward opted out of his $34.2 million contract with the Boston Celtics for the 2020-21 season Thursday afternoon, making him an unrestricted free agent beginning at 6 p.m. ET Friday, Hayward's agent Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Extending the deadline does not guarantee Hayward will ultimately opt in. Unfortunately for Hayward and the Celtics, things didn't exactly go as according to plan as Irving eventually left the Celtics in free agency, all while the Celtics were subjected to some disappointing playoff exits.

The Knicks have been aggressively pursuing Hayward for weeks, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.

As of now, Hayward's feelings towards the Celtics are clearly complicated, with an anonymous Eastern Conference executive surmising that the veteran forward may feel betrayed by Boston giving him an auxiliary role. It began with a horrifying leg injury that ultimately required multiple surgeries.

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"[Pritchard]'s just done a tremendous job of making the right decision much of the time", OR coach Dana Altman said earlier this year.

Past year with Boston, Hayward appeared to be starting to find the form that made him an All-Star in 2017.

Pritchard, the 2019-20 Pac-12 Player of the Year, averaged 20.5 points and 5.5 assists with the Ducks last season.

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