SALT LAKE CITY — Gordon Hayward is officially a free agent.

The Utah Jazz forward declined the player-option final year on his contract as expected and will now test the market as an unrestricted free agent, said a person with knowledge of the situation.

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

The Jazz have made it clear that re-signing 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 are widely considered his top pursuer, with Hayward’s college coach, Brad Stevens, at the helm in Boston. The ability to win will be one of the key factors for Hayward, and the Celtics are coming off a trip to the Eastern Conference finals as the No. 1 playoff seed in the East.

The Miami Heat are also in the mix. Hayward has scheduled visits to Miami and Boston this weekend, and plans to meet with the Jazz on Monday.

“Every fiber of our collective being and soul of the Utah Jazz want him back,” General Manager Dennis Lindsey said.

Hayward just concluded the most productive season of his career that included his first All-Star selection, career highs in points and rebounds per game, and leading the franchise to the playoffs for the first time since 2012. He averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists, and pushed the Jazz to the second round after not winning a playoff game since 2010.

Hayward was one of the four players to average at least 21.5 points, five rebounds, 3.5 assists, one steal and two 3-pointers per game this season. The foursome also included the three MVP finalists – Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kawhi Leonard.

WARRIORS: Kevin Durant declined to opt in for the second year of his contract with Golden State and will become an unrestricted free agent, an expected move for the NBA finals MVP who said he plans to do his part to keep the core of the team intact to chase more titles.

When the season ended, Durant made it clear he plans to stay with the Warriors. He was due to earn more than $27.7 million for 2017-18 yet but would go this route to provide the franchise with financial flexibility so General Manager Bob Myers might be able to retain other key members of the group – like 2015 finals MVP Andre Iguodala – for what everyone hopes is another long postseason run next year. Then Durant could receive his max deal a year from now.

Durant now will need to begin working out a new deal once the free-agency period begins Saturday, but might wait to see how things play out with his free-agent teammates before signing. He is expected to gain a 20 percent raise over the $26.5 million he made last season and would earn about $31.8 million.

A DIVERSITY REPORT shows the NBA “significantly ahead” again in professional sports in racial and gender hiring practices.

The league received an A for racial hiring and a B for gender hiring practices for the 2016-17 season. The NBA drew an overall grade of A-minus, continuing its run of A grades since the start of the 2000s.

The report card was released by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. The report was written by Richard Lapchick.

The NBA sets the pace, with people of color making up 30 percent of the head coaches and 45 percent of the assistants. The NBA is also the first major sports league to have three owners of color.

Report cards are also issued for the NFL, MLB, WNBA, MLS and college sports.

“They have been significantly ahead of the other leagues from the time we started it in the 1980s,” said Lapchick, the chair of University of Central Florida’s sports business management program. “Other leagues have closed the gap and improved a little bit but the NBA has continued to improve as well to stay the industry leader.”

The league, however, received an F for race representation at the levels of team president/CEO and general manager. There are just four people of color at the top tier of team management and three general managers of color.

The NBA also received a D for gender hiring for team vice presidents, with women making up 24 percent of the workforce in that area. Although women in team senior administrative positions jumped from 24 percent in 2015-16 to 29 percent this past season, the league earned a C-minus for gender hiring at the team level.

“There are obviously areas in there that need improvement,” Lapchick said. “This is the second year in a row that we’ve talked about the lack of women in senior leadership positions at the team level.”

PELICANS: Guard Jrue Holiday has scheduled a meeting with the team for midnight Friday when NBA free-agency begins, a person familiar with the situation said.

Holiday, 27, has spent the past four seasons with New Orleans since being acquired in a trade with Philadelphia, where he played his first four seasons. Because Holiday last played for New Orleans, NBA rules allow the Pelicans to offer him a five-year contract, one year more than other teams.

Holiday averaged 15.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 67 games last season.