Gordon Hayward says relationship with Brad Stevens is ‘overstated’
One of the biggest reasons why star free agent Gordon Hayward, who sat down for a podcast with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that dropped on Monday, signed with the Celtics has been deemed ‘overstated’ by the 27-year-old Hayward himself.
Hayward is, of course, talking about his relationship with Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
“The relationship between Brad and I has been completely overstated and overhyped from everybody,” Hayward told Wojnarowski.
“I played for Brad for two years. And so it wasn’t like everybody kind of made it seem, like we were besties or something.”
And as you know by now, as it has been straight-up pounded into your brain long before he even signed here, Stevens coached Hayward at Butler and personally recruited him there. But that doesn’t mean that he recruited the All-Star sharpshooter to Boston, or that this was a scheme that the duo hatched once Stevens made his jump to the NBA.
“There was always rumors about going to Boston, and those, to me, were always just rumors. I didn’t really ever think about it, because I wasn’t a free agent, wasn’t really concerned with the Boston thing,” Hayward continued, “but everybody else was saying, ‘Oh, he’s going to go to Boston because of Brad.’ And we had a great relationship, but it wasn’t like we were constantly texting each other or calling each other. He’s the head coach of the Boston Celtics. He’s got things to worry about.”
Hayward did, however, acknowledge that there was still a sense of comfort when it came to his first real NBA contact with Stevens when free agency began on July 1.
“But that was something that I kind of was, ‘What’s this gonna be like? It’s been seven years since he coached me.’ And immediately, though, he called me July 1 and after that phone call I thought like this isn’t going to be any different,” Hayward said of this free agency period potentially messing with the relationship they had developed all those years ago. “With him, it was one of those things where he made me feel like even if I don’t go to Boston, it’ll be fine and we’ll still have that great relationship and he’ll still be in my corner and he’ll still be rooting for me and supporting me.”
It’s an interesting podcast, and undoubtedly worth a listen, as it it touches on everything from Hayward’s emotional connection to Utah, how he was admittedly sold on Miami before his visit to the Celtics, and how Stevens got the two lost around Boston. But Hayward’s point that Stevens didn’t play a huge factor in his decision really comes across as Hayward simply trying to make it a point that this decision was all him. That, with Hayward being an unrestricted free agent, is obviously true, but to say there wasn’t some old-school style recruiting on the part of Stevens and the C’s would be foolish.
It also sort of ignores what he wrote in his July 4 piece for the Players’ Tribune, which closed with him hyping the ‘unfinished’ championship business he and Stevens had.
But even if it’s overstated, there has to be comfort in the Celtics investing $128 million in a coach and player that have the history these two do.
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Source: GreenStreet Blog