The Boston Celtics and forward Gordon Hayward have agreed to push the deadline for his $34 million player option for the 2020-21 season back from its original deadline of 5 p.m. Tuesday to 3 p.m. Thursday, league sources told ESPN.
By extending the deadline for another two days, both sides get a chance to assess their options before Hayward needs to make a decision on his future.
Hayward, 30, averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 52 games for Boston this past season, while shooting 50% from the field and 38% from 3-point range. He suffered a Grade 3 sprain of his right ankle in Game 1 of Boston’s first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers inside the NBA’s bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort.
The injury kept him out until midway through the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat.
After signing a four-year max contract in July 2017, Hayward suffered a gruesome foot and ankle injury six minutes into his first game with the Celtics that October. He missed the rest of that season, then struggled at times in 2018-19, his first full season back, before taking a significant step forward this past season.
Hayward spent the first seven seasons of his NBA career with the Utah Jazz.
The Celtics have been the subject of much discussion leading up to the NBA draft on Wednesday and the opening of free agency on Friday. Boston already has nine players with guaranteed contracts for next season — including center Daniel Theis, who has a nonguaranteed deal the Celtics are all but sure to pick up, a team option for forward Semi Ojeleye, and player options for Hayward and center Enes Kanter.
The Celtics also have four picks in Wednesday’s NBA draft, including three selections (Nos. 14, 26 and 30) in the first round.