Celtics

After a day of confusion, Gordon Hayward announces he's joining Celtics

After a day of confusion, Gordon Hayward announces he's joining Celtics

SALT LAKE CITY - Celtics fans can officially light the Fourth of July basketball fireworks.
 
Gordon Hayward confirmed in a Player's Tribune article on Saturday night with the title "Thank you, Utah."

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He chose between Boston, Miami and the only team he has played for in the NBA, the Utah Jazz.

Three years ago, Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck talked about Danny Ainge and the Celtics being well-positioned to have an offseason full of “fireworks” only to see that summer – and the two afterward never quite live up to the offseason explosion he was talking about.
 
The Celtics convincing Hayward to leave Utah and sign with Boston is a “fireworks-like” move, for sure.
 
Although a league source did tell CSNNE.com that the 27-year-old will sign a four-year, $127.8 million deal that will likely include a player option after the third season, there were conflicting reports that the deal wasn't quite done. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Hayward hadn't informed the Jazz of his decision.

Hayward's 10 years in the league qualify for a max contract that’s worth as much as 35 percent of the salary cap.
 
But more than the money, Hayward joins a Celtics squad that with him on board now, has increased its chances of advancing past the Cleveland Cavaliers and get to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.

And that latter point, competing for an NBA title, was very much the driving force behind his decision.
 
In conversations with league officials earlier in the day prior to Hayward’s decision, the Jazz were very concerned about losing him more so to Boston because of the Celtics’ success last season and the fact that the main guys from that team were still around.
 
Boston had the best record in the East (53-29) last season and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals where they lost to Cleveland in five games.
 
Key guys from that team still around include All-Stars Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford, as well as defensive standouts Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley.
 
Boston also returns Jaylen Brown who saw more time as the postseason progressed, and put his improved overall game on display during Boston’s 89-88 summer league win against Philadelphia with 29 points and 13 rebounds to go with a last-second blocked shot to preserve the win.
 
And by adding Hayward without having to give up any of its draft picks, Boston finds itself having improved its team from a year ago while enhancing its already well-stocked treasure trove of draft picks that (we think) Ainge will be willing to empty out for the right player.

Marcus Smart reveals what has surprised him most about Kemba Walker

Marcus Smart reveals what has surprised him most about Kemba Walker

Marcus Smart knew what the Boston Celtics were getting when they signed Kemba Walker over the summer.

Walker has built a reputation for his leadership and ability to score at will, so Smart wasn't surprised to see those qualities carry over into Boston. But there was one aspect of Walker's game that did catch Smart off guard.

"Yeah, his defense," Smart told The Players' Tribune when asked what surprised him most about Walker. "And for little guards that score the ball and have the ball in their hands like Kemba, you don't really see that often with guys playing defense."

Watch the full clip below:

Walker certainly has made an impact defensively for the C's thus far, all while averaging 22.6 points through the first 13 games of the season. Plus, there's no doubt he's been a breath of fresh air within Boston's locker room.

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nuggets, which tips off Friday at 8 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 9 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

Ranking the top 10 Celtics 'agitators' of the past decade

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Ranking the top 10 Celtics 'agitators' of the past decade

BOSTON --  When Doc Rivers coached the Boston Celtics, he would often talk about advice he received from the late Red Auerbach who spoke to him about the importance of having a few guys on the roster who were “agitators;” that is, guys who consistently found a way to get underneath the skin of opposing players. 

There are plenty of players through the years who fit that description who played for the Celtics. 

But for our purposes, we’ll focus on the last decade, one in which agitators played a pivotal role in the team’s success even after the 2008 title run.

In keeping with honoring the best of the best during the 2010s, here we have a list of the Celtics’ top-10 agitators of the past decade with their years in Boston in parentheses. 

Click here to see A. Sherrod Blakely's full list of Celtics agitators.>>>

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