On the 4th of July, Gordon Hayward sparked fireworks for the Boston Celtics as he announced in the Player’s Tribune that he would leave the Utah Jazz and sign with the Celtics. Hayward inked a 4-year, $128 million deal with the Green Team that includes a player option after 3 years.
Just one year removed from the 4th of July disappointment of the news Kevin Durant was signing with the Golden State Warriors, after it looked promising he might sign with the Celtics, Hayward gave Boston great news, announcing he would join the young, promising Celtics team. I was ecstatic after hearing that Hayward was coming to Boston. Then there was news reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN that Hayward’s agent told that Gordon had not made a decision yet. Once this news came out, I only thought the worst. I was thinking, OK great, we get this news about Hayward signing with the Celtics only to find out it was a false report, and he ends up going back to Utah. That’s just the initial thought that popped into my head because I was just setting myself up for disappointment when the Woj tweet came out. But sure enough, Hayward’s agent only made that statement because Gordon wanted to break the news himself in the Players’ Tribune, in an article featuring him thanking the Jazz organization, fans, and explaining why he decided to sign with Boston.
I think this move by Hayward just shows the type of guy he is. He wrote a lengthy article explaining his situation and reasoning for the move to the Celtics. He showed true professionalism, and it’s great to see that from an all-star. I mean, there are still plenty of let-down Jazz fans, who are now calling Gordon “Betrayward.” But what’s a big free agency move without backlash?
In Hayward’s Players’ Tribune, titled Thank You, Utah, aftering informing the Jazz about his decision, Gordon went on to rave about Celtics head coach, Brad Stevens.
“The last time I had a decision this tough … it was in college, during my sophomore year, after we lost to Duke in the national championship game. I’d gotten on NBA radars as a result of my play that March, and there were projections that I might even be a first-round pick in the draft. And so I had a decision to make: Should I leave my comfort zone at Butler and move on to the NBA? Or should I stay another year, and give it another go, and try to finish what we’d started — try to win a championship.”
“Coach Stevens was so great about it, all of it. He helped me lay out my options, and talked it through from both sides … but in the end, when I needed it, he also gave me my space. And he also let me know that it was my choice to make — and that he would be there for me, on the other side of it, either way. And of course I ended up deciding to leave: I declared for the draft, and got drafted, and started my new NBA life in Utah. But it always meant a lot to me, to know how, in that moment, even with our lives at this strange crossroads together, Coach Stevens was someone I could count on.”
Then Hayward went on to provide chills for the entire Celtics organization and fan base by saying, “And that unfinished business we had together, back in 2010, when I left Butler for the NBA … as far as I’m concerned, all of these years later, we still have it: and that’s to win a championship.”
Reading something like that, you can tell the respect, confidence and excitement Hayward has as he joins the Boston Celtics and attempts to deliver the Celtics their 18th banner in the rafters.
The Celtics are gaining an all-star small forward who is coming off the best season of his career, averaging 21.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 3.5 APG. The 27-year-old is in this prime, upping his scoring total in each his 7 seasons in the NBA. He’ll provide the Celtics with another primary scorer along side all-star PG, Isaiah Thomas.
Beyond just Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford, the Celtics feature great, young talent that will have the Celtics in championship consideration for years to come. 2nd year forward, Jaylen Brown and rookie Jayson Tatum shined in the Celtics first summer league game. Brown scored 29 points and Tatum provided 21 of his own, including a game-winning jumper to defeat the 76ers. Hayward, Brown and Tatum all play the same position, along with the Celtics starting SF, Jae Crowder.
I would like to see the Celtics use Crowder and maybe Avery Bradley along with draft picks to acquire a big man. Anthony Davis would be the best front court player to attempt to trade for, but how much would the Pelicans want for their superstar? Another possibility would be Detroit Pistons C, Andre Drummond. Rumors are the Celtics are currently in talks with the Memphis Grizzlies inquiring about Marc Gasol.
Any of the players listed above would provide the Celtics with the only aspects they are in need of… Rebounding and rim protection. Adding a big man would complete the Celtics roster. As of now, the Celtics are in a good position to compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East, but adding a center could get them passed the Cavs and in the championship game.
Gordon Hayward signing with the Celtics is amazing, and with Boston becoming a hot destination in free agency, the Celtics are primed to be successful for years to come. It’s all about banner 18.