Gordon Hayward just turned down a $34 million player option, making him now an unrestricted free agent. This move may sound dumb on the surface, but he may actually be taking advantage of the most desperate NBA franchise of this generation: the New York Knicks.
Rumors are flying already that the Knicks are “aggressively” pursuing the former Celtics forward, a player that was relegated to a shrunken role partly because of his freak ankle injury in 2017 and a poor fit in Boston. They had a million forwards on that roster that gave Hayward no definitive job. It was a waste of his time.
The Knicks don’t have that problem. They might have a ton of power forwards, but they don’t have much talent on the wing. In fact, they have no talent on the perimeter. Newly-hired Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau will need something out there to compete. In short, the Knicks are desperate and should make Hayward an offer that will make him glad he turned down the $34 million option with the Celtics.
Even if this deal doesn’t happen, it would still drive up his price tag back to that mid-$30 million range. Hayward may not seem to be worth over 30 million annually, but he would be to the right team. Prepare for the Knicks to pounce on this opportunity to put some talent on the floor, even if it means paying a good player great player money.