Reports: Gordon Hayward opts out of final year of contract


Gordon Hayward has decided to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Celtics and become a free agent, according to multiple reports. The Athletic's Shams Charania had the news first.

Hayward originally had a deadline of Tuesday afternoon to make his decision on the $34 million option, but he and the Celtics agreed to extend it to Thursday, after the NBA draft.

There had been reports in recent weeks that Hayward did "want out" if he knew there would be a good deal in free agency, even if it was for less than $34 million for this coming season.

Hayward's name popped up in numerous trade rumors, including one that would have had him going to the Pacers for Myles Turner.

Hayward could still re-sign with the Celtics on a new contract. It's also still possible he and the Celtics could work out a sign-and-trade.

To that point, there is already a report that the Pacers are still pursuing Hayward. They would likely need to execute a sign-and-trade in order to make the money work.

The worst-case scenario, which is certainly now in play, is Hayward signing elsewhere with no sign-and-trade. The Celtics would get nothing in return in that scenario except for a full mid-level exception to use on a lesser player.