Life is not sunshine and rainbows. When Gordon Hayward left the Jazz to sign with the Boston Celtics, everyone saw his max contract of four years and $128 million as another career milestone. However, fate stripped Gordon of that happiness as he got severely injured in the season’s first game itself.
As a result, Hayward played just one game that year. The following season in 2018-19, he was allowed to start just 25% of the games. Then again, in the last season, he left the bubble early for the recovery of a Grade 3 right ankle sprain. All this put a dent in his importance in the Celtics’ squad, who learned to play and win without him.
If a certain EC executive is to be believed, Gordon is not happy with his status in the team. The insider revealed, “I think he feels betrayed with his role there, but he’s not leaving money on the table”. The 30-year-old star forward has a humongous $34.1 million player option left on his contract. He is yet to decide whether to move out of the contract.
It will be surprising for Hayward’s fans if the 6’7” athlete walks away from attaining such a big amount. He only has time till Tuesday to make his decision. While he might have many other teams who are willing to have him, an amount this big might now be on offer only if he becomes a free agent.
One point here is that Gordon is a relatively old player in a squad of very young players. The starting five for the Celtics (from the last game against the Heat) have an average age of 26 years, and this makes Gordon a veteran figure who is not performing at par with his own capabilities. This is not to claim that he is not an outstanding player, but has more to do with the fact that his erratic injuries have been failing him.
The C’s have Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown performing very consistently as one of the best wings in the league. A healthy Gordon is surely a key piece to this young duo, and the Celtics would want to have Gordon.
Now, the steering remains in Gordon’s hands. If his feeling of betrayal can bring aggression to his game with the Greens, it will benefit all. But if he chooses the hard way to move out, there are some good franchises such as the Indiana Pacers who are looking for a Small Forward as good as him.
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