Why NBA GM Believes Gordon Hayward Will Stay With Celtics, Opt In For Next Season

When the current NBA season ends, regardless of how it ends, Gordon Hayward will have a decision to make.

The Boston Celtics forward is able to opt out of his current deal and become a free agent, and it’s unclear what path he plans to take. He seemed to have found his form this season after suffering a gruesome injury in the 2017-18 season opener and struggling to get back on track in the ensuing campaign.

But he’s still not quite back to the All-Star level he played at with the Utah Jazz, meaning he might have trouble fetching a similar salary (roughly $34 million) to what he’ll get with the C’s next season.

As such, one NBA general manager told Heavy’s Sean Deveney he would expect Hayward to stay put, then test free agency once his deal is done after next season.

“It’s too much money to pass up,” the GM told Deveney. “He could get a longer deal if that is what he really wants. But I don’t think the Celtics want to give it to him, they have a lot of young guys to pay and the starting (salary) number on whatever the contract is will not be close to $34 million. He can opt in this year and then take a big contract next year. When you look at what he has done since his injury, he has only gotten better. He could get better next year and be ready for the summer of 2021.”

This season, Hayward, who turned 30 earlier this month, is averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 33.4 minutes per game.

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