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NBA Rumors: Knicks Aggressive in Pursuit of Gordon Hayward

The Knicks have been aggressive this week in their pursuit of Celtics forward Gordon Hayward, according to the New York Times' Marc Stein.

Hayward had a $34 million player option deadline that was pushed back to Thursday at 5 p.m. ET. According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Hayward has opted out of his $34M deal for the 2020-21 season and will become a free agent.

According to SNY's Ian Begley, Hayward's possible acquisition might be less likely after New York's decision to use their draft picks on Thursday.

New York is near the top of the league in terms of cap space this offseason and could add Hayward's salary. ESPN's Bobby Marks notes that the franchise now has $40 million in available cap space this offseason. 

That number comes after on Thursday the franchise declined the team options of forward Bobby Portis and guard Theo Pinson. They are also waiving forward Taj Gibson, guard Elfred Payton, forward Kenny Wooten and guard Wayne Ellington.

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The franchise selected last year's Wooden Award winner Obi Toppin with the No. 8 pick in the 2020 NBA draft and SEC Player of the Year Immanuel Quickley with the No. 25 pick. 

New York appears to be building around center Mitchell Robinson, guard Frank Ntilikina and forwards Kevin Knox and RJ Barrett—all of whom are 22 years old or younger.

Hayward, 30, averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 52 games for Boston last season while shooting 50% from the field and 38% from 3-point range. 

He joined the Celtics in the summer of 2017 on a four-year max contract, but suffered a gruesome ankle injury just six minutes into his first game with Boston and missed the remainder of the 2017-18 season. 

Check out the latest news and notes from around the NBA:

  • The three-way trade between the Pistons, Clippers and Nets has officially been completed. Detroit receives the rights to Saddiq Bey, Jaylen Hands, Dzanan Musa, Rodney McGruder, draft considerations and cash considerations. The Clippers receive Luke Kennard, Justin Patton and four second-round picks, while the Nets receive Bruce Brown. (Duncan Smith, Forbes Sports)
  • Boston Celtics traded center Vincent Poirier and cash considerations to the Thunder for a "conditional future second round pick." (Boston Celtics
  • The Thunder are in serious talks to trade Kelly Oubre Jr. to the Golden State Warriors. (Shams Charania, The Athletic)
  • Veteran forward Paul Millsap is going to weigh his options at the start of free agency before deciding if he'll return to Denver. (Mike Singer, Denver Post)
  • The Nuggets are clear front-runners to sign Real Madrid and Argentina point Facundo Campazzo. (Marc Stein, New York Times)
  • Miami forward Kelly Olynyk has exercised his player option for the 2020–21 NBA season. (Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN)
  • The Timberwolves have extended a qualifying offer to Malik Beasley. (Michael Scotto, Hoops Hype)
  • The Knicks plan to exercise their $4.2 million option on swingman Reggie Bullock.(Marc Berman, New York Post)
  • Thunder forward Mike Muscala has exercised his player option to return this season. (Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN)
  • Seton Hall star Myles Powell is signing with the Knicks as an undrafted free agent. (Adam Zagoria)
  • The Lakers are waiving guard Quinn Cook. (Shams Charania, The Athletic)
  • Lakers center JaVale McGee will exercise his $4.2M player option for 2020-21 season. (Shams Charania, The Athletic)
  • Milwaukee is waiving forward Ersan Ilyasova. (Shams Charania, The Athletic)
  • Rockets guard Austin Rivers has decided to opt out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent. (Marc J. Spears, The Undefeated)'
  • Boston has declined a qualifying offer to guard Brad Wanamaker. (Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN)
  • Atlanta is trading Dewayne Dedmon to Detroit. (Shams Charania, The Athletic)
  • The Utah Jazz are trading Ed Davis and two 2023 second-round picks to the New York Knicks. (Brian Windhorst & Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN)
  • The Philadelphia 76ers will sign guard Dakota Mathias to a two-way contract. (Derek Bodner, The Athletic)