KEY POINTS

  • Hayward likely to pick up player option with Celtics
  • Hayward may not be offered big money due to injury history
  • Hayward needs to prove durability to get loftier deals

Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics can opt to test free agency in the offseason although some feel it would be foolish. Injuries continue to hound the 30-year-old forward, something that most NBA teams are concerned about. In all, the 6-foot-7 swingman may end up on the losing end if he does not pick up the player option of his current deal.

Gordon holds a player option next NBA season worth $34 million. That is a lot of money on the table and something that the All-Star forward may not get from other teams. An unnamed general manager believes that it would be too much to pass up, per Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. But like most, Hayward is likely looking for longevity of tenure - something Boston may not be willing to give.

“He can opt-in this year and then take a big contract next year. When you look at what he has done since his injury, he has only gotten better. He could get better next year and be ready for the summer of 2021,” the unnamed NBA general manager said.

Hayward has played in 45 games this season for the Celtics, averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists. These are improved numbers compared to his career averages per Basketball-Reference.com. But worth noting as well is that he is seeing extensive action for Boston this NBA season. And that is one reason why he is getting injured often.

The good news for the 9th overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft is that the temporary halt of play could work to his advantage. Like most athletes confined to their homes due to the coronavirus, Hayward can rest up and heal better with his current set of injuries.

Before the NBA decided to suspend the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Celtics had already clinched a playoff spot. They are third in the Eastern Conference standings and are on course to face the Philadelphia 76ers or the Indiana Pacers. This depends on how the two teams end their regular season. Celtics team president Danny Ainge has no plans to add another body unless it was someone too hard to pass up.

As for Hayward, he could also use the time off to ponder his future. It has not been a worry-free stay for him in Boston so he may want to stay a bit longer and prove he can be durable enough to last an entire NBA season.

Gordon Hayward Gordon Hayward scored 30 points as the Celtics beat the Warriors 128-95. In this picture, Hayward #20 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the first quarter against the Washington Wizards at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on Mar. 01, 2019. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images