Ryen Russillo has let it be known that star Gordon Hayward would like to leave the Boston Celtics this offseason. “I’ve heard Gordon Hayward does want out, but I don’t know if he’s going to get the money,” Russillo said on “The Bill Simmons Podcast”.
Hayward has a player option for next season and if he indeed chooses to get out of the final year of his contract, he would forego $34 million. Hayward hasn’t had the prominent role he was expected to have with Boston, as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker have stepped up as the biggest contributors on the offensive side of the ball.
Russillo mentioned he would only opt-out if he knew that he could get a long term deal done with another team, but it’s hard to imagine any team would give Hayward the money he would be looking for. After all, Hayward has had trouble staying healthy since his catastrophic ankle injury in 2017. Last season, he was sidelined due to ankle sprains, a concussion, and a foot injury.
Another big factor in Hayward’s decision is the state of the league amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The NBA’s owners didn’t have to complete an entire season without fans like Major League Baseball’s owners had to, but the regular season in home arenas was cut short and there was no ticket revenue coming in during playoff games because there were no sold out arenas.
So, would a team—who doesn’t know when they will see fans walk through their doors again—really want to give Hayward a long term deal that’s likely going to have to have an average annual value of more than $20 million when he has a recent track record of getting hurt?
The answer is likely no.
(Photo courtesy of Winslow Townson/AP)