Gordon Hayward's future with the Boston Celtics is getting murkier by the day.
Hayward can earn $34.1 million next season by opting into the final year of his Celtics contract, and many assumed he'd take that option in light of the injuries and inconsistencies that have prevented him from reaching his full potential.
It sounds like the veteran forward is leaning the other way, though. On Tuesday's episode of "The Bill Simmons Podcast," The Ringer's Ryen Russillo reported Hayward "does want out" of the final year of his deal.
ESPN's Zach Lowe and Bobby Marks recently hinted at some "buzz" that Hayward may opt out and seek a long-term deal with a new team, much like Al Horford did when he spurned the Celtics to sign a four-year, $109 pact with the Philadelphia 76ers.
It appears that "buzz" is growing louder.
There are logical reasons why Hayward would turn down $34.1 million from the Celtics, one of which is financial: It may benefit the 30-year-old to sign a long-term deal now rather than wait until next offseason, when NBA teams may have less cash to spend after a shortened 2020-21 season. (The 2021 free agent class is set to be historically loaded, as well.)
It's also possible Hayward just wants a change in scenery after suffering a rash of injuries that have relegated him to the Celtics' fourth option (at best) behind Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker.
As Russillo pointed out, though, Hayward would want some assurance of a long-term deal before jumping ship.
"He's not opting out of that huge number unless he knows he's getting the deal," Russillo added.
Hayward also is the subject of trade rumors, and with no deadline set for player options, everything is still on the table -- including him taking a page from Horford's book this winter.