Gordon Hayward signed a four-year, $128 million contract with the Boston Celtics in 2017. He is currently entering the final season of that agreement, for which he has a player option. Despite being owed roughly $34 million if he opts in, it appears as though Hayward is interested in taking a different path. During an appearance on The Bill Simmons podcast, Ryen Russillo reported that Hayward “does want out” of his contract for the 2020-21 season.
Why would someone want out of a deal that would pay them $34 million in one year? Ryan Bernadoni of the Locked On Celtics Podcast explained that recently.
“(If a) player is gonna make $5 million, they don’t actually get $5 million, necessarily,” he said. “What they get is $5 million divided by all of the salaries paid in the season. It gives you a percentage, right? That’s .07% of total salaries times half of revenue. And that’s what you get.”
Now, Hayward wanting out of his current deal does not necessarily mean that he wants to leave Boston.
“If you’re Gordon Hayward…I can think, well, I could bypass this year, I can opt out and re-sign for a longer term at lower dollars,” Bernadoni said. “The possible advantage is, if you’re gonna lose 30% of your salary in one year, it’s better to lose 30% of 20 million than 30% of 34 million.”
LeBron didn’t like what he saw. https://t.co/d7BRplBigT
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 4, 2020
This past season, Hayward averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists through 52 games played. Although the 30-year-old has been a decent contributor when active, his time in Boston has been a mixed bag and riddled with various injuries. The team is very clearly building around Jayson Tatum, and it is unclear how Hayward fits into that picture.
If Hayward and the Celtics ultimately came to a new long-term agreement of some sort, he could lessen the team’s salary cap burden and keep them under the luxury tax line, all the while adding a few years of security for himself.
Assuming that the Celtics don’t want to go this route and are intent on moving Hayward, two interesting options have emerged for a possible trade: the Portland Trail Blazers and New York Knicks.
So that’s how she motivates Gronk. https://t.co/84SK9ScUhu
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 3, 2020
Recently, NBA ESPN insider Zach Lowe and cap expert Bobby Marks discussed a deal that would send Hayward to Portland in return for Zach Collins, Trevor Ariza, Rodney Hood and a protected first rounder.
If not the Blazers, New York could make a lot of sense as well. In that scenario, a three-team trade could involve the Indiana Pacers, where Victor Oladipo and Hayward end up with the Knicks, Boston gets Myles Turner and the Pacers get a ton of draft picks.
All things considered, it is hard to see a situation where Gordon doesn’t end up elsewhere sooner rather than later. It could be by trade. It could be via eventual free agency. But either way, it feels like the writing is on the wall.