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."
Thank You, Utah. https://t.co/ICfocNeZfW— Gordon Hayward (@gordonhayward) July 4, 2017
- Thomas, Horford, Jazz and others react
- Celtics need to make a few roster moves to make room
- Video analysis from A. Sherrod Blakely
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.
Gordon Hayward's agent, Mark Bartelstein, tells ESPN: "Gordon hasn't made a decision yet. We are still working through it."— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 4, 2017
The Utah Jazz are still waiting to be told of Gordon Hayward's intentions, league source tells ESPN. Hayward hasn't told them his plans yet.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 4, 2017
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.