NBA Writer Predicts How Gordon Hayward Will Approach Contract, Free Agency


Apr 1, 2020

There are millions of reasons why Gordon Hayward might want to stay put.

The Athletic’s John Hollinger predicted Wednesday the Celtics forward will decline to enter free agency this offseason by opting into the final year of his contract with Boston.

Hayward’s deal will pay him about $34 million in 2020-21, and Hollinger believes the free agency market wouldn’t net the 30-year-old a new contract with a higher annual salary after this season but could do so after next season.

“Hayward’s strong bounce-back season with the Celtics this year theoretically opens the door for him to test free agency in search of one more big payday,” Hollinger wrote. ” Realistically, however, none of the teams that have room would seem to need to break the bank to have a 30-year-old wing be their third-best player. Hayward is clearly better off banking the $34M this year and then trying again in a much more favorable free-agent market in 2021. Verdict: Yes”

Hayward is averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 33.4 minutes per game this season, with his numbers and performances proving he has recovered fully from the catastrophic leg and ankle injuries he suffered on opening night of the 2017-18 NBA season.

Hayward could bet on himself, theoretically, to follow a fine 2019-20 season with an even better campaign in 2020-21. Doing so would create the opportunity to secure another lucrative long-term contract, either with Boston or another team.

Hayward’s future has been among the minor storylines of the Celtics’ interrupted season. Some speculated in late 2019 that Boston might swap him ahead of the NBA trade deadline. That didn’t happen, because the Celtics are happy with his play and reportedly want to re-sign him to a new deal.

If that’s the case, Hayward would be better off, at least financially, remaining in Boston, as Hollinger and at least one NBA GM firmly believe.

More Celtics: Jayson Tatum Shares Funny Tweet About Gordon Hayward’s ‘Bounce’

Thumbnail photo via Russell Isabella/USA TODAY Sports Images
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