Gordon Hayward didn’t truly stroll away by declining his $34.1 million possibility with the Celtics final evening.
The playmaking energy ahead, his three-season tenure with the crew a largely snake-bitten expertise, merely opened up a wholly new community of choices, together with a diminished probability that he may return beneath a restructured deal.
Based on a league supply accustomed to negotiations between the 2 sides, this final chance is certainly nonetheless on the desk, as counterbalanced as it’s by the prospect of constructing extra money elsewhere than the Celtics are keen to pay.
“Gordon doesn’t even know but,” stated the supply. “Nobody has indicated something.”
As such, when free company begins at 6 p.m. Friday, with the signing moratorium lifting on Sunday, each side may even be juggling a bunch of transferring elements.
The Celtics didn’t lengthen a qualifying provide to Brad Wanamaker, now an unrestricted free agent, in an obvious transfer to offer NBAGL rookie of the yr Tremont Waters a higher alternative at backup level guard, and maybe even rookie Payton Pritchard. Although Wanamaker may nonetheless return, he could have extra profitable prospects elsewhere within the league. Enes Kanter picked up his $5 million possibility, although there’s a rising sense that the Celtics will possible embody that contract in a commerce package deal. The Celtics additionally picked up Semi Ojeleye’s $1.7 million possibility, although he was not anticipated to final past Saturday, when the contract turns into totally assured. Additionally they prolonged qualifying presents to Waters and Tacko Fall, and traded Vincent Poirier to Oklahoma Metropolis for a conditional future second spherical choose.
Most or a number of the above may come again, together with Hayward.
However first the 30-year-old has a broad vary of selections to make, beginning with a pair of sub-mediocre suiters. Atlanta, $44 million beneath the cap, and New York, virtually as flush with $40 million to spend, are already on the entrance of the road. The Knicks, starved as standard for large names, are the extra possible of the 2 groups to throw a serious long-term deal at Hayward.
As of yesterday Atlanta was in a murkier place, with the Hawks additionally stated to be enthusiastic about free agent Danilo Gallinari, a 32-year-old ahead with an identical talent set.
Neither would provide Hayward the identical alternative at a deep playoff run because the Celtics, who nonetheless are unwilling to take a position $30 million-plus per yr on him. As a substitute, the Celtics are stated to be extra comfy paying Hayward an annual wage simply north of $20 million per yr.
The extra fascinating path, each for Hayward and the Celtics if he decides to depart, is a sign-and-trade deal to a extra fascinating location — ie: a playoff crew. Indiana has indicated a willingness to commerce for the state’s native hero, with middle Myles Turner probably the most steadily talked about participant to develop into a Celtic. However the Pacers, just like the Celtics, are presently over the cap.
Hayward, who had his possibility deadline pushed again to Thursday from Tuesday, has clearly had hassle making up his thoughts, although the dilemma is nothing new.
He as soon as signed a suggestion sheet with Charlotte as a restricted free agent in 2014, just for Utah to match the provide. Simply previous to leaving Utah for the Celtics in the summertime of 2017, he wrote two draft essays for The Gamers Tribune — one in case he returned to the Jazz, and the opposite in case he signed with the Celtics. Solely then did he make up his thoughts.
The Celtics additionally discover themselves in an disagreeable, perpetuating sample. Ought to he go away outright for a greater contract elsewhere, Hayward would develop into the third participant in two seasons to stroll out on the Celtics.
Al Horford and Kyrie Irving each selected that path in the summertime of 2019 — the previous for a serious provide from Philadelphia that the Celtics had no want to match.
Horford additionally relished an opportunity to play energy ahead subsequent to Joel Embiid, however as a substitute discovered himself not solely enjoying extra middle than he anticipated — he ended up coming off the bench when the match with Embiid did not work.
A yr later, Horford has been traded to Oklahoma Metropolis. There’s a cautionary story in there someplace.