How Gordon Hayward landed with the Celtics
Celtics coach Brad Stevens channeled a college coaching technique he hadn’t used in over four years when the clock struck midnight on July 1. It was then that Stevens reached out to a targeted player’s parents to express interest in their talented son.
“His text said, ‘I hope all is well. We’re really looking forward to having Gordon come visit,’ ” Gordon Hayward Sr. told the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach.
It was just the starting process of a reunion that became official when Hayward inked a four-year, $128 million max contract with the Celtics late on the Fourth of July.
But what happened between that text and the Fourth was pure insanity.
With meetings with the Heat, Celtics, and Jazz lined up over the course of three days, Hayward Sr. was left to simply be a supportive father and provide advice if his son needed it. And it was after Hayward’s meeting in Boston (with a stop at Fenway Park), that the two chatted on the phone for over two hours, according to Himmelsbach.
“Gordon said to me, ‘Dad, it was impressive. It was amazing,’ ” his dad told the Globe.
The ‘amazing’ meeting that Hayward gushed about to his father included a video session where Stevens, who as you know coached Hayward at Butler, showed the 27-year-old Hayward how and where he’d fit into the Celtics’ gameplans, and came with the mention that the C’s allow players to bring their wives and families on road trips (Hayward and his wife have two young children).
Then the Jazz got their chance.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the Jazz threw the kitchen sink at Hayward in San Diego. Team owners Gail and Greg Miller, team president Steve Starks, general manager Lindsey, coach Quin Snyder and assistant coach Johnnie Bryant came. As did Jazz teammates Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles, and even Ricky Rubio (a player the Jazz acquired partly because of Hayward’s admiration for his game). The Jazz then pitched him on how Gobert was statistically better than any player on the Celtics, how they’d spend to keep the core together long-term, and how the Jazz would be a 60-win team should Hayward re-sign with them. Sources also told the Tribune that the Jazz were willing to let Hayward structure his max contract however he’d like.
Still, it wasn’t enough to keep Hayward from taking his talents to Boston to reunite with Stevens in pursuit of an NBA championship, first reported with a midday news break originally shot down by Hayward’s agent Mark Bartelstein, and then confirmed when Hayward penned an over 2,000 word goodbye to the Jazz for the Players’ Tribune.
But by the time the article was posted, it was too late. The damage of a chaotic July 4 was already done for Jazz fans, and it almost felt like getting burned twice.
“Clearly, this wasn’t the way he wanted it to go down,” Hayward Sr. said of the social media frenzy on that day, with conflicting reports galore. “That’s the unfortunate thing, is that it wasn’t his intention. He just wanted to be the one to tell everybody.”
Still, the move to leave the Jazz for the Celtics was one met with some heavy criticism, especially from the ‘Stayward’ campaign in Utah, that Hayward Sr. understood.
“I mean, I grew up in Indiana, and I’m not saying Gordon is Reggie Miller, but if Reggie Miller had left in the middle of his career, that would have been really sad to me,” Hayward Sr. told the Globe. “So, it’s really tough. It’s a tough situation. But is he supposed to stay in Utah just so he just doesn’t disappoint others?
“It is tough on him. I know it’s hard on him. I know his decision hurt some people, but, you know, the burning of his jerseys, that’s hurtful, too.”
The decision to move to Boston definitely hurt the Jazz, but it was not necessarily a shock to those in the NBA, as anonymous sources told the Tribune that they almost expected this move given the consistent rumors around Hayward and the C’s.
“Gordon’s a guy who doesn’t really want to be the man,” former Jazz teammate Trevor Booker, one of those players willing to go on the record, told The Tribune. “I’m not sure he wanted a franchise on his shoulders. Gordon’s a great player, and one of the best players in the league. But I wasn’t really surprised at his choice. I heard the rumors.”
Bartelstein, meanwhile, maintains the belief that the leaks that first reported Hayward to the C’s remain incorrect and that Hayward was still very much in limbo when it was reported (it’s said that Hayward wrote three different stories for the Players’ Tribune, one for each landing spot). But the unnamed skeptics in Utah, with bitterness aplenty given the hole that Hayward now leaves for the Jazz, obviously have their own thoughts.
And the Celtics, with a late-night text to kick it off, have their man in Hayward.
Full article @ How Gordon Hayward landed with the Celtics
Source: GreenStreet Blog