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Report: Celtics’ top priority in free agency will be Jazz forward Gordon Hayward

Utah Jazz v Charlotte Hornets

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 18: Gordon Hayward #20 of the Utah Jazz during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 18, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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Gordon Hayward didn’t make an All-NBA team on Thursday, much to the dismay of Utah Jazz fans. Our own Dan Feldman broke down what that means for Hayward’s potential earnings given his options in free agency this season earlier today, which is important context. With no designated player extension available to him this year, it’s very likely Hayward will exercise his player option to become a free agent in the summer of 2017.

Meanwhile, speculation has now turned on leverage lost for Utah without the ability to sign Hayward to a designated player extension. Specifically, murmurs about Hayward potentially skipping Salt Lake City for Boston have become increasingly audible.

As Yahoo! Sports reports, the Celtics GM Danny Ainge will now make Hayward his No. 1 priority during the offseason.

Via Yahoo! Sports:

Boston is really focused on trying to get Gordon Hayward from Utah in free agency, so why trade assets to get Jimmy Butler when you think you might have a chance at Hayward in the summer where they have the cap space to sign him and you don’t have to trade anything. Boston could possibly know closer to the draft where they stand with Gordon Hayward.

Does Hayward get Boston over the LeBron James hump in the playoffs? The makeup of the Celtics roster, a team playing in the Eastern Conference Finals, could look very different in the near future.