Gordon Hayward will be a free agent this summer, and buzz regarding a reunion with Brad Stevens is starting to ramp up.
Wojnarowski added that he thinks Celtics general manager Danny Ainge will “go really hard after Hayward on July 1.”
The Vertical’s Chris Mannix has also stated he believes Hayward is the Celtics’ top priority as the start of free agency approaches.
“The next step for this team, that’s got to be Gordon Hayward,” he said on CSN New England’s Celtics Pregame Live prior to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals (h/t NESN.com). “That is a guy who can help this team immediately. And that’s a guy I believe is Boston’s No. 1 target this summer.”
The connection between Hayward and the Celtics is obvious, since the 27-year-old and Stevens previously enjoyed success together at Butler University and nearly captured a national title over the Duke Blue Devils in 2010.
To this point, though, Hayward has not tipped his hand regarding future plans.
“I’m definitely going to take some time off, get away from the game a little bit, enjoy time with family, try to get my body back to 100 percent and recover, and deal with the next chapter of what’s going to happen,” he said after the Jazz were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs, according to the Deseret News‘ Jody Genessy.
Should Hayward bolt for Beantown, he will leave quite a bit of cash on the table. As things stand, the Jazz can offer Hayward a five-year deal in the range of $180 million, while the Celtics can pony up $132 million over four years, according to Sporting News’ Sean Deveney