Celtics forward Gordon Hayward could opt out of his contract in search of a long-term deal, according to several NBA analysts, including Zach Lowe of ESPN.
“There’s some buzz out there. And I can’t figure out what the buzz means,” Lowe said on the Lowe Post podcast. “The buzz that I’m hearing is like the smoke, the smoke indicating that something is happening. I’m not sure what’s up, but I don’t think it’s a lock that Gordon Hayward is on the Celtics next year.”
Hayward has a $34.2 million option on his contract. ESPN’s Tim Bontemps recently reported Hayward was expected to pick up the option.
But not so fast, suggested Lowe and ESPN insider Bobby Marks.
“I think what (Hayward’s) agent Mark Bartelstein is doing right now is canvassing the league. He’s doing the Al Horford plan,” Marks said, referring to Horford’s move from the Celtics to the 76ers in free agency last offseason.
Hayward, 30, is 6-foot-7 and signed a four-year contract for $127 million in 2017.
He averaged 17.5 points and a career-high 6.7 rebounds in 52 regular-season appearances. He suffered an ankle injury against the Philadekphia 76ers, appearing in just five playoff games and averaging 10.8 points.
The Celtics own the No. 14, 26 and 30 overall picks in the first round of the Nov. 18 draft. Free agency is expected to begin shortly after that.