One of the main storylines of the Boston Celtics offseason will be what happens with Gordon Hayward. Will he opt into his $34.2 million contract? Will he opt out and re-sign to a long-term deal? Or will he opt out and sign elsewhere?
The latest report is the Indiana Pacers are interested in Hayward as a trade target. While it could be just a rumor, it also could be a telling sign that the C's aren't committed to the idea of Hayward in Boston in 2021.
ESPN's Zach Lowe discussed the latter in the latest episode of the Lowe Post podcast, noting there's been some "buzz" about Hayward's uncertain future.
“There’s some buzz out there. And I can’t figure out what the buzz means,” Lowe said. “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.”
“We don’t know that there’s a Gordon Hayward chase," Lowe added. "We don’t know that any of this is happening. I’m just saying that there’s a little bit of buzz. ... Something is mildly afoot here.”
Lowe was joined on the podcast by former Brooklyn Nets assistant general manager Bobby Marks, who's now ESPN’s front office insider. Marks believes Hayward could be taking a similar offseason approach to a former Celtic.
“I think what his agent Mark Bartelstein is doing right now is canvassing the league. He’s doing the Al Horford plan,” Marks said.
Horford, of course, signed with the Philadelphia 76ers last year on a four-year, $109 million deal.
Hayward opting out of his contract to join a new team would be a surprise. But as the league prepares for what should be an eventful offseason, he'd be remiss to not at least explore the possibilities that may be out there.