Gordon Hayward opts out of contract, becomes free agent

Celtics forward Gordon Hayward has opted out of the final year of his contract and immediately becomes a free agent, able to sign with any team in the NBA.

Hayward, who played three seasons in Boston, made the decision shortly before the 5pm deadline and it was first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Hayward signed a four-year deal before the 2017 season which included a player option for 2020-21 worth $34.2 million. His opt-out puts the Celtics in a tough spot, since the team will not be able to replace that money due to NBA salary cap rules.

Had the Celtics maintained his rights and worked out a trade with a willing partner, Boston would have been able to match the salaries and swap players.