Former Butler staffers doubt whether Brad Stevens can lure Gordon Hayward to Celtics
Brad Stevens and Gordon Hayward enjoy a friendly relationship, but it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to lure Hayward to the Celtics.
The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach penned a feature story Friday, chronicling the connection between Stevens and the All-Star forward. As a lanky teenager coming out of high school, there wasn’t a lot of interest in Hayward, who seemed just as likely to play tennis in college as basketball. But once Stevens was named Butler’s head coach in April 2007, he targeted Hayward, seeing a player who would blossom in his collegiate years. Hayward committed to Butler that June, while he was vacationing with his family at Disney World.
The two experienced tremendous success together at the mid-major, climaxing in Butler’s 2010 NCAA championship run during Hayward’s sophomore season. The Bulldogs lost the title game to Duke by two points, though Hayward nearly drained the last-second half-court heave.
Hayward has remained in touch with Stevens since the Jazz drafted him in 2010, meeting for meals when their teams play against each other. But former Butler staffers told Himmelsbach they don’t think Stevens will be the deciding factor in Hayward’s free agency decision. The Celtics are reportedly one of only three teams who will meet with Hayward next week.
“I think Gordon is going to do whatever is best for him,” a Butler source said to the Globe. “I don’t think [Stevens’s presence] makes that big of a difference to him.
Former Butler assistant Terry Johnson, who now coaches at Ohio State, echoed those sentiments.
“I don’t think [Stevens] will factor in too much. It’s different now, because it’s such a business,” he explained. “Obviously I think the relationship matters, but also he has kind of set his mark in Utah as well, having great relationships there. One thing I’ve found out about Gordon is he’s a loyal guy.”
In addition to Hayward’s relationships in Utah, the state’s generous tax rate may keep him there as well. Danny Ainge’s son, Tanner, warned Hayward Wednesday about the possibility of Massachusetts enacting a “millionaires’ tax.”
It’s apparent the Celtics have a fighting chance to land Hayward. But it appears far from a done deal.
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Source: GreenStreet Blog