In doing so, the 30-year-old former All-Star becomes one of the top players available in free agency.
Hayward averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in 33.5 minutes per game across 52 appearances with the Celtics last season. The workload represented his biggest game-to-game output since suffering a devastating left ankle injury mere minutes into his Celtics tenure in 2017.
The 6-foot-7 forward’s 56.1% effective field goal rate was the highest mark of his career, owing to a solid 38.3% clip on long balls and improved shot selection inside the arc.
The New York Knicks are hoping to pluck Hayward from their Atlantic Division rival, sources told The New York Times’ Marc Stein. The team freed up ample cap space earlier Thursday, declining team options for Bobby Portis and Theo Pinson. They also waived guard Elfrid Payton, wing Wayne Ellington, power forward Taj Gibson, and big man Kenny Wooten.