The Knicks Have Reportedly Been ‘Aggressive’ In Pursuing Gordon Hayward

The biggest player option decision this offseason was in the hands of Gordon Hayward, who had to decide between picking up his $34.1 million option with the Celtics or entering free agency as one of the best players on the market — but on a market that has very few teams with significant cap room.

The two teams with significant cap space this offseason are the Hawks and Knicks, who, unsurprisingly have now been tied having interest in Hayward. The latest report from Marc Stein of the New York Times indicates the Knicks have been “aggressive” in their pursuit of the wing and may be poised to lead the chase for him if he enters free agency.

It should be noted that Ian Begley offered some further reporting, indicating that the Knicks use of their draft picks on Wednesday may point to them having cooled some on Hayward, although they did clear massive amounts of room earlier on Thursday by declining team options and letting the likes of Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis walk.

Even with the Knicks drafting Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley, Hayward could still fill a significant need on the wing for a New York squad that could desperately use a solid defender in that spot as well as some on-ball creation. Just before the 5 p.m. ET deadline, word emerged that Hayward was indeed declining his option and would become a free agent.

That would put the Knicks and Hawks at the front of the line for Hayward, with New York apparently having significant interest in the wing, but they aren’t alone. There’s still sign-and-trade possibilities for Hayward, including with Indiana which has long been thought to want to bring him home.