5:54 PM ET
Gordon Hayward opted out of his $34.2 million contract with the Boston Celtics for the 2020-21 season Thursday afternoon, making him an unrestricted free agent beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, league sources told ESPN.
Hayward, who averaged 17.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 52 games for the Celtics this past season, originally had to make a decision on whether to opt in or out of his contract by 5 p.m. Tuesday, but he and the team agreed to move that decision back to Thursday afternoon to leave more time to assess the situation.
Hayward becomes the biggest name to hit the open market this offseason, and his future is the No. 1 topic of discussion around the NBA.
There are now three options available to Hayward: re-sign with the Celtics on a long-term deal, sign with one of the two teams with significant cap space — the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks — as a free agent, or agree to a sign-and-trade deal with a team that doesn’t have enough cap space to sign him, which would then allow Boston to get something in return for his departure.