Source: Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images North America via ZimbioReport: Boston Celtics will make Gordon Hayward their top priority in free agency Ashish Mathur May 19, 2017 Atlantic Division, Boston Celtics, NBA 3 Utah Jazz star Gordon Hayward was not voted to an All-NBA team, which means he won’t qualify for the designated player extension that is written in the new collective bargaining agreement. With Hayward not having any financial incentive to stay with the Jazz now, all signs point to the All-Star exercising his player option to become a free agent this summer. Reports have already surfaced that the Boston Celtics plan to make Hayward their top priority in free agency, as members of the organization are very confident that they can sign the versatile small forward to a max contract. It’s no secret that the Celtics have been trying to acquire a star player for a while now, and instead of giving up assets to get Jimmy Butler or Paul George via trade, Boston can go all out to sign Hayward as a free agent without having to give up anything. Hayward and Celtics coach Brad Stevens, of course, have a great rapport with one another as Stevens coached Hayward when the two were at Butler University. Many executives around the league believe Hayward’s strong connection with Stevens is going to be the x-factor that sways Hayward to sign with Boston. Gordon Hayward is coming off his best season in the NBA. The 27-year-old averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game this year while shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 39.8 percent beyond the arc. Hayward guided the Jazz to a first-round playoff series win over the Los Angeles Clippers and he has firmly established himself as one of the top two-way players in the game. Pairing Hayward with star point guard Isaiah Thomas would increase the Celtics’ chances of eventually knocking off LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers as the best team in the Eastern Conference. Hayward is that second scorer/shot-creator Boston needs to take the pressure off of Thomas. The Celtics are expected to draft guard Markelle Fultz with the number one overall pick in this year’s draft and a Big Three of Hayward, Thomas and Fultz could give the Cavs a run for their money in the near future. Ashish Mathur is an NBA writer at TheSportsBlaze. Follow him on Twitter – amathuropsn. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window) 3 Responses Daniel May 19, 2017 “With Hayward not having any financial incentive to stay with the Jazz now, all signs point to the All-Star exercising his player option to become a free agent this summer.” Opt out and sign with Jazz: 5 years, 176 million Opt out and sign with another team: 4 years, 130 million You must be paid a lot if 46 mil doesn’t count as financial incentive. Reply Damen May 19, 2017 You’re forgetting though that Hayward can prob opt out after his second year if he signs with Boston and sign another max deal so it will compensate for the $46 million he initially misses Reply Daniel May 19, 2017 Hope he takes out a nice insurance policy. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.