UTAH JAZZ

Report: Gordon Hayward Wants Out Of Boston

Nov 4, 2020, 3:01 PM
Gordon Hayward...
Gordon Hayward (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Gordon Hayward may once again be looking for a new home. The former Utah Jazz star and current Boston Celtics forward wants out of Beantown according to The Ringer’s Ryen Russillo. In a podcast with host Bill Simmons, Russillo said Hayward might opt out of his contract if he can find a bigger deal elsewhere.

“I’ve heard that Gordon Hayward does want out, but I don’t know if he’s going to get the money,” Russillo said. “He’s not opting out of that huge number unless he knows he’s getting the deal.”

Hayward spurned the Jazz during the summer of 2017 for Boston, opting to sign a max contract with the historic franchise rather than returning to Utah fresh off of a second-round playoff loss to the Golden State Warriors.

The forward was named an All-Star during his final season with the Jazz but has yet to find similar success in Boston. During Hayward’s debut in Green and White, the forward suffered a devastating ankle injury just minutes into the game.

Hayward missed the rest of the season in Boston and has yet to return to his All-Star form with his new team. The forward has a player option of $34 million entering his final season with the Celtics but could look to shore up more money over a longer period of time by opting out of his deal.

with uncertainty surrounding next season’s salary cap projections due to the coronavirus pandemic, and a significantly deeper free-agent class, Hayward could hope to find more money on this year’s market.

Where Would Hayward Likely Sign?

Unfortunately for Hayward, the current marketplace of teams with salary-cap space isn’t terribly flattering. Only the Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, and Phoenix Suns are set to have significant money to spend in free agency.

Of that group, only the Heat qualified for the postseason, and are unlikely to dedicate significant cap space to a player of Hayward’s caliber.

The Atlanta Hawks, who are projected to have roughly $40 million in cap space, are likely the most realistic landing spot for Hayward. The Hawks are reportedly anxious to compete for a playoff spot this season, are unlikely to be a free agent destination in the more competitive market next season and have a need at Hayward’s position.

The Indiana Pacers, residing in Hayward’s hometown, could be a fitting trade partner for Boston as rumors continue to swirl around All-Star guard Victor Oladipo’s future with the roster.

Ironically, the Jazz are one of the few teams in the NBA that have the type of assets that could make a deal work for Hayward. Mike Conley is on a similar expiring contract and could be moved in a deal with no additional salary pieces needed.

However, the Celtics have a more than adequate starting point guard in Kemba Walker, while the existing bad blood between Hayward and Jazz fans would likely make the deal a non-starter.

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