Gordon Hayward won’t be returning to TD Garden next season. At least not wearing Boston Celtics’ jersey.
Hayward, who opted out of his contract with the Celtics last week, decided to sign with Charlotte Hornets as a free agent. The 30-year-old player reportedly agreed to a four-year deal that will net him $120 million.
While Hornets still haven’t made the official announcement, Hayward confirmed the deal in a social media post on Sunday by tweeting: “To the city of Charlotte, I can’t wait to start the next chapter in my career! I am ready to play for another incredible organization.”
Hayward passed on a $34.7 million salary with the Celtics in 2020/21 by opting out, but the franchise was still one of the favorites to land him on a long-term deal. Indiana Pacers were also in the mix, banking on the fact that he is from Indianapolis.
His decision came as a surprise in NBA circles, especially considering Charlotte’s stature in the game and their struggles in recent years. However, it is important to note that Gordon Hayward already accepted the offer from Hornets back in 2014, but Utah Jazz matched the offer to keep him.
By acquiring Hayward, the Hornets now have an exciting team that could make some noise in the East. They previously drafted talented guard LaMelo Ball with the No. 3 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft while also having Devonte’ Graham, who was a revelation at the guard position last season, and former Hayward’s Celtics teammate Terry Rozier on their roster.
Hayward spent the last three years with the Celtics, but his stint in Boston was plagued by injuries and he never managed to make an expected impact with the franchise. He now hopes to get his career back on track in Charlotte and maybe return to his All-Star form while helping the Hornets to contention.