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Gordon Hayward Reacts To Leaving The Celtics In Free Agency

Boston Celtics shooting guard Gordon Hayward.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 19: Gordon Hayward #20 of the Boston Celtics plays after being injured during the first quarter against the Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 19, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

After three years as a Boston Celtic, Gordon Hayward is leaving the organization to join the Charlotte Hornets.

On Thursday, Hayward declined his $34.2 player option with the Celtics. On Saturday afternoon, the Boston forward signed a four-year, $120 million deal with Charlotte.

Hayward took to Twitter to express his gratitude to the Celtics faithful on Saturday evening.

"To the city of Boston, thank you for embracing me as your own these last 3 years. I cannot say thank you enough to all the fans, my teammates, coaches and everyone in the organization I built such strong relationships with," Hayward wrote.

"I know there were some ups and downs, but I will always cherish my experience in Boston. I am forever grateful that I was given the opportunity to wear a @Celtics uniform and play in front of the Garden faithful."

Hayward's career in Boston certainly started with a major down. In the first quarter of his first career game with the Celtics, the former Utah star suffered a gruesome ankle injury that knocked him out for the entire 2017-18 season.

After nearly a full year of recovery, Hayward returned to play his first full season with the Celtics. He certainly didn't come back putting up the same numbers he did pre injury, but the All-Star has slowly improved his stats with time.

In his first year back, Hayward averaged 11.5 ppg. Last year the forward boosted that average to 17.5 ppg.

As the new No. 1 scoring option in Charlotte, Hayward's numbers will likely continue to rise moving forward. When he was "the guy" in Utah, Hayward averaged 21.9 ppg.

Alongside the Hornets' No. 3 pick in the 2020 draft, LaMelo Ball, Hayward brings a level of star power that hasn't been seen in Charlotte for years.