As we gear up for the Boston Celtics offseason, all eyes are on Gordon Hayward.
The 30-year-old has a $34.2 million player option, which at one point made it seem like a foregone conclusion he'd opt-in remain a Celtic. Lately, however, Hayward's future with Boston has been in question.
The Indiana Pacers recently emerged as a possible suitor for Hayward in a potential sign-and-trade. Additionally, there's some buzz the former All-Star could be "doing the Al Horford plan" and exploring his options if he were to become a free agent.
On Tuesday's Boston Sports Tonight, our Celtics insider Chris Forsberg gave three reasons why Hayward could choose to continue his career elsewhere.
"If Gordon Hayward opts out, there's three motivations. The first would be seeking long-term security with the Celtics," Forsberg said. "Like he essentially would say to them, I'm passing up this big payday but extend me for a longer-term, three years, four years. Over 30 now, injury history, I'd like that security.
"There's a chance he opts out and just wants a fresh start. But you look around the league, there's not a lot of teams that have cap space. We're talking Atlanta, Detroit, the Knicks. I don't know if Gordon Hayward wants to go to a team that's sort of in that mini-rebuild mode. Atlanta's kind of curious but do they want to pay Gordon Hayward?
"And then there's the third motivation, which would be opt-out and then force the Celtics to do a sign-and-trade to somewhere he does want to go. I think that's just what is the most curious of the possibilities here. I do think ultimately he'll be back and that's the most likely scenario, but if he did just need to get away and he needs to go somewhere, maybe the Celtics do look around and think if there's a sign-and-trade that they could get back assets."
There's still no official date set for the start of NBA free agency, but Hayward's decision undoubtedly will make for an intriguing storyline when the offseason begins.