Gordon Hayward just made one of the most shocking free-agency decisions we've seen in a while. He opted-out of the final year of his contract with the Boston Celtics, forfeiting $34 million despite the pandemic context.
It's clear now that Hayward isn't thinking about the money. He wants a chance to redeem himself after struggling so badly after his gruesome injury and wants to join a team that values him as a long-term asset and that actually puts the ball in his hands.
This year's cap situation is complicated for most teams. There won't be that much money available like in other years, so perhaps Hayward's options are slightly more limited. Here, we're going to let you know the 3 most realistic destinations for him.
3. Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns recently acquired Chris Paul from the Oklahoma City Thunder and it's pretty clear that they've finally entered win-now mode. They don't have much cap space but still have plenty of movable assets that could help Hayward make his way to the desert.
The Suns want to keep Devin Booker there for many more years, and a starting five of Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Gordon Hayward, and Deandre Ayton could certainly make some noise in the Western Conference.
2. New York Knicks
The New York Knicks have made some interesting moves over the past couple of days. They had a solid draft and cleared a lot of cap space to make a run at a star that could finally get them over the hump.
That might as well be Gordon Hayward, as they'll have enough money to sign him to a multi-year deal. Obviously, the Knicks wouldn't give him the biggest shot at contention but he could salvage his legacy in a big market and earn a lot of money for the next 3 or 4 years.
1. Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks have been quite aggressive since the end of the trade moratorium. They're trying to give Trae Young the help they promised and are now in the pole position to sign a couple of free agents after clearing a lot of cap space.
The Hawks have a young and promising team that just needs a couple of veterans to make a playoff push. Hayward could give them that experience and scoring punch at the small forward position and help them become a dark horse in the Eastern Conference.