The free agency chaos is once again upon us, this time concerning forward Gordon Hayward and his pursuers the Boston Celtics.
ESPN’s Chris Haynes first reported that the 27-year-old All-Star has “plans to sign with the Boston Celtics” and the news was later broken by The Vertical’s Chris Mannix and Sports Illustrated writer Sam Amick.
All three did not say that the report came from either Hayward or his agent, Mark Bartelstein.
But minutes later, noted insider Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the Utah Jazz were not contacted by anyone from Hayward’s camp, which was later confirmed by team president Steve Starks.
“We trust Gordon and his agent that no decision has been made,” said Starks in his Twitter account. “Good communication all day and a great relationship,” added the president.
Hayward, drafted ninth overall in 2010, became an unrestricted free agent this summer after opting out of the last year of his four-season, $62.9 million contract he signed with Utah in 2014.
The Butler product saw steady rise in his production, from 5.4 points per game in his age-19 rookie year to 21.9 ppg in his age-26 season, his seventh. He also averaged career-highs in rebounds with 5.4 and logged four-year bests in field goal percentage (47.1%) and three-point percentage (39.8%).
Because he failed to make it to an All-NBA Team, Hayward missed out on the chance for eligibility for a super-max contract of a five years and more than $200 million, which can only be offered by a team to those players with at least seven years of experience and made it to the All-NBA.
According to Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors, Utah can re-sign Hayward to a five-year deal worth $177.5 million, while any other team can only offer him four years and $131 million.