There is nothing new here, but it has become official.
Gordon Hayward told the Jazz he will opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent, reports ESPN’s Marc Stein.
Then starting July 1 he will meet with Miami, Boston, and Utah. While other teams will undoubtedly call, those three teams are the clear front-runners to land him.
There is no consensus from people around the league of where Hayward will land — people in Utah remain very confident about their chances — but there’s a sense that momentum is building for Boston. Still, this is a true “anything can happen” situation and if he takes his time deciding it could bottleneck much of free agency.
Hayward an All-Star and near All-NBA level player on the wing, a position of need around the league (and for the teams involved). Last season, he averaged 21.9 points per game, shot 39.8 percent from three, and he’s become a quality playmaker who you can trust at the end of a game. Plus can defend everything from stretch fours to point guards — he’s not lockdown, but he’s good. Hayward is the kind of versatile player teams need to compete in a modern NBA.