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Free agency rumor: Gordon Hayward decision could come as soon as tonight

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He still has to meet with Utah.

Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz - Game Three Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

The Celtics seem to have been focused on Gordon Hayward for months (or perhaps even years). As they’ve waited for his decision, we’ve seen Paul George traded, Blake Griffin signed, and several other backup plans dry up.

Now the wait may almost be over. According to Steve Bulpett, the decision could happen as early as tonight (after Gordon meets with the Jazz at his home in San Diego).

There are reports Hayward plans to make his decision known by tomorrow or Wednesday, but a source close to the player said he could let teams know his decision as early as tonight.

Clearly a lot is riding on this decision. If he decides to come to Boston, he’ll join Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford to create a formidable core in an ever-weakening Eastern Conference. If he decides to go to Miami or stay in Utah, the Celtics will be scrambling for backup options.

One of those options may simply be to kick the can down the road another year. Kelly Olynyk could be re-signed, the team could plug some holes with low-level free agents, and we can see how the young players develop (and how the Nets and Lakers picks shake out) over the course of next season.

Or maybe Danny Ainge has a few more tricks and contingency plans up his sleeve. The Celtics still have a lot of guards and not a lot of bigs, so regardless of what happens with Hayward, we could still see another trade happen.

Still, we’ll have to wait another few hours at least because everything seems to hinge on what Gordon decides.