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Report: Gordon Hayward declines player option, now a free agent

GORDON HAYWARD UTAH JAZZ

SALT LAKE CITY  — A person with knowledge of the decision says Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward forward has declined the player-option final year on his contract as expected and will now test the market as an unrestricted free agent.

The seven-year veteran is one of the biggest names available this offseason and will likely command a max deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press Thursday on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been formally announced.

The Jazz have made it clear that resigning Hayward is the No. 1 priority for the offseason, and his departure would be an enormous blow to the recent progression of the franchise. The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are considered his top pursuers.

Mark Stein of ESPN also reported the news.