Report: Hayward declines player option with Jazz, now a free agent

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SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MAY 8: Gordon Hayward #20 of the Utah Jazz practices prior to their game against the Golden State Warriors in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena on May 8, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

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.

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