Sports Briefs: 11-20-20

  • Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward (20) takes a shot as Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler (22) looks on during the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference final, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

AP source: Celtics’ Hayward opts out of final year of deal

BOSTON — Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward opted out of the final year of a contract that would have paid him $34.1 million, making him a free agent, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday

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The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the decision has not been publicly announced.

Hayward could still re-sign with the team, either to remain in Boston or be part of a sign-and-trade deal that would open up more potential destinations. The Celtics did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Brad Stevens, who also coached Hayward in college at Butler, recruited Hayward to Boston in 2017 and the team signed him to a four-year, $128 million deal that made him the biggest free agent signing in franchise history. But Hayward snapped his leg in the first quarter of his first game, missing all of the 2017-18 season.

He averaged 26 minutes and 11.5 points the next year — far below his numbers in Utah — and began to return to his previous form in the bubble this season with 17.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

The two sides decided to push back the deadline for Hayward to decide on the option until Thursday afternoon. Speaking to reporters during the NBA draft on Wednesday night, Stevens said he wouldn’t push Hayward one way or the other.

“It’s their option. It’s their choice. They get to do what they want,” the coach said. “I’ve talked to those guys all year long. … As they get closer to those deadlines, I say ‘If you need me, let me know.’ He knows us, he knows me and this entire situation.”

Maryland-Michigan State, another Mountain West game canceled

The Big Ten game Saturday between Maryland and Michigan State has been canceled after a COVID-19 outbreak on the Terrapins resulted in a positive test for coach Michael Locksley.

It’s the second straight cancellation for the Terrapins, who were scheduled to face Ohio State last week before several players on the team contracted the coronavirus. Maryland (2-1) has not played since beating Penn State on Nov. 7.

Locksley tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and is isolating at home.

The Mountain West also announced Thursday that the San Jose State at Fresno State football game scheduled for Saturday was canceled, due to COVID-19 contact tracing within the Fresno State football program. The Mountain West is declaring it a no contest. There is no plan to reschedule the game.

Conor McGregor agrees to UFC return vs. Poirier on Jan. 23

Conor McGregor has agreed to return to the UFC for a rematch with Dustin Poirier on Jan. 23 at UFC 257.

UFC President Dana White confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday that McGregor has ended his latest retirement from mixed martial arts by signing an agreement for a 155-pound fight with Poirier.

White hasn’t decided whether UFC 257 will be held in Las Vegas or in the UFC’s coronavirus-secure bubble in Abu Dhabi.

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“But if the world continues in the direction it looks like it’s headed, it will 100% be Fight Island,” White told the AP.

By wire sources

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