The Boston Celtics came up short in the Eastern Conference Finals but will use the NBA offseason to re-tool. A critical factor in their efforts will be the decision Gordon Hayward makes with his final-year option.
According to Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy, Hayward is currently ‘undecided’ on a potential decision regarding his $34.1 million player option.
The Celtics have become loaded on the wing with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown emerging as franchise-cornerstones. Since Hayward’s return from injury, there just simply isn’t justification to value him above Tatum and Brown in the half-court offense.
There are multiple factors that Hayward must take into consideration. The level of compensation he is set to receive using his final-year option is far greater than any salary he’d receive in NBA free agency if he were to decline it.
Another factor to consider is whether Hayward’s motivation to play elsewhere could be greater than his desire for the largest contract he can get from around the NBA. There is still the option of the Celtics trading him in an effort to reconfigure the roster.
One team that has been linked to Hayward with potential trade interest is the Indiana Pacers. They have a talent in Myles Turner that could appeal strongly to the Celtics as they still face a need to find a long-term, more dynamic solution to the center position.
The Boston Celtics will have plenty of options regardless of what Gordon Hayward decides to do. If he were to opt-in, he could be used in a trade to match salary in a way that could bring back an intriguing talent.
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