Hayward agreed to join the Celtics on Tuesday, Chris Haynes of ESPN reports. Hayward, arguably the most high-profile free agent of the summer, has opted to join his former college coach Brad Stevens in Boston to play for the Celtics. He'll be joining a roster with other All-Star caliber talent such as Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford, not to mention important role players such as Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder. He will undoubtedly be inserted into the starting five from day one, presumably at the small forward slot, likely bumping Jae Crowder to either the bench or up to power forward. Hayward averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 boards, 3.5 assists, 1.0 steal and 2.0 threes across 34.5 minutes per game last season and should be in line for a similar workload for the Celtics, who were the number one seed in the East last season. With significant offensive talent already on the Celtics, it seems possible Hayward's numbers could dip, but it's important to keep in mind that the East is noticeably weaker than the West at the moment, which should put Hayward up against worse competition than he's used to on a regular basis. All in all, Hayward should continue to be one of the top fantasy options available in all formats.
Hayward has informed the Jazz that he'll decline his $16.7 million player option for the 2017-18 season and become an unrestricted free agent, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports. Hayward was always expected to opt out, as he'll be in line to pick up another max contract that will be a significant raise from the $16.7 million he was slated to make. Hayward has already been linked to both Boston and Miami, but the Jazz could also end up bringing him back due to the fact that they can offer him the most money overall. Look for Hayward to begin meeting with teams at the start of free agency on July 1 and he should be one of the most sought after players on the market after averaging 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.0 steal and 2.0 three-pointers across 34.5 minutes per game this past season.
Hayward recorded 25 points (8-21 FG, 4-7 3Pt, 5-6 FT), five rebounds, three assists and two steals across 39 minutes during a 121-95 loss to the Warriors on Monday. Hayward scored at least 25 points for the third so far in the series, but it wasn't enough as the team's season came to an end as a result of the loss. He was the team's best player during the series, but struggled from the field, as he shot below 40 percent in three of the four losses. The second round had to be fairly disappointing for Hayward, considering he didn't have much help on the offensive end, and with his impending free agency looming, we'll see what happens with him.
Hayward posted 29 points (7-18 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 13-14 FT), six assists and two rebounds across 42 minutes during a 102-91 loss to the Warriors on Saturday. Hayward was excellent for the second straight game in the losing effort, as he went for a team-high 29 points. His six assists marked his highest total of these playoffs as did the 14 free throw attempts. Hayward will likely need to put up a similar, if not better, effort if the team is going to continue its season after Game 4.
Hayward provided 33 points (11-21 FG, 3-8 3Pt, 8-9 FT), five rebounds, four assists and one steal over 40 minutes during Thursday's 115-104 loss to the Warriors in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals. Hayward bounced back in spectacular fashion from a lackluster 12-point performance in Game 1, but it wasn't enough to propel his team to an upset victory. However, it was encouraging to see the Jazz's top scorer back to his typical levels of production after having shot just 26.7 percent (4-for-15) on Tuesday. The 27-year-old also put together an impressive first-round body of work against the Clippers, so his Game 1 stumble can be considered an outlier. He'll look to lead the way as Utah tries to bounce back in Game 3 at home on Saturday.
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