Gordon Hayward will start traveling with Celtics in March

Gordon Hayward will start traveling with Celtics in March

LOS ANGELES – The Boston Celtics have made a point of trying to change up Gordon Hayward’s rehabilitation routine as to avoid the boredom that’s often associated with the recovery process from a long-term injury such as his.

How about a few days in Southern California?

Hayward is with the team here in Los Angeles, and will stay behind for a few days afterward according to head coach Brad Stevens.

“One of the things we wanted to do was change his environment,” said Stevens who added that Hayward may begin traveling with the team in March. “So, he’s going to be here for these two games, and he will stay here in Southern California for a week to 10 days with a couple of our staff and re-join us in Boston.”

The key to him re-joining the team for road games hinges on whether he can do is rehabilitation work without the need for an ultra-gravity (Ultra-G) machine which he has been using.

Stevens later explained why the team felt the need to try and switch up Hayward’s regimen.

“People that have been through this, you know, long process ... One of the things about us, we’re jumping on a plane every four or five days,” said Stevens who added that Hayward still has “a long way to go” before returning to play in an actual game. “And he’s used to that and he has been in the same routine doing the same thing for three or four months without that. So, we just wanted to have him here for a couple games while we’re out West and for a few days later, leave him out here.”

Al Horford is among the Celtics eager to have Hayward join the team on road games, even if his timeline for returning to action is still targeted for next season.

“We’re happy, anytime, for Gordon to be around us,” Horford said. “For him, it’s his process to getting back to where he needs to be. Obviously, we’re respectful of that. But any chance that he gets around us, it’s good to share with him. He’s still a part of this. That’s the cool thing about it.”


A. Sherrod Blakely's NBA Mock Draft 1.0

NBC Sports Boston illustration

A. Sherrod Blakely's NBA Mock Draft 1.0

There are still more than two months until the NBA Draft, and there's no suspense when it comes to the top pick.

Duke phenom Zion Williamson is all but guaranteed to hear his name called first by Adam Silver on draft night; the only suspense is which team wins the draft lottery and earns the right to select him.

The lottery is still almost a month away, but the tiebreakers have already taken place, which means it's a perfect time to start looking forward and project how the cards could fall on draft night.

From one-and-done stars to guys who stuck around at college for a few years to international players hoping to make a name for themselves stateside, there are a lot of NBA prospects about to enter the fray.

With that in mind, A. Sherrod Blakely takes a look ahead to draft night.

Click here for his NBA Mock Draft 1.0.>>>>

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NBA Rumors: Cavs would 'gladly' trade for Gordon Hayward if available

NBA Rumors: Cavs would 'gladly' trade for Gordon Hayward if available

The Boston Celtics are focused on the 2019 playoffs. But the NBA's lottery teams already are looking ahead to this summer, and it appears the Cleveland Cavaliers are keeping tabs on one of Boston's prized assets.

Cavs general manager Koby Altman confirmed last Friday his team already has fielded calls for veteran guard J.R. Smith, whose unique contract -- only $3.8 million guaranteed of the $15.7 million he's technically owed next season -- could provide another club with valuable cap flexibility.

In an article published Wednesday, Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor listed the Celtics as one of the Cavs' 10 potential trade partners in a Smith deal, citing Cleveland's interest in former All-Star Gordon Hayward.

The Cavs would gladly take the polarizing Hayward, who was an All-Star in Utah before his horrific leg injury. He would be the main prize, the exception to Cleveland demanding a draft pick or ascending player on a rookie deal. Hayward is healthy now and will have a full off-season to try to regain his old form, possibly giving the Cavs another piece to accelerate their timeline. Put Hayward, 29, alongside Kevin Love, Collin Sexton and the duo added in Round One and suddenly Cleveland has the look of a playoff team.

Fedor notes the only way Boston would consider dealing Hayward is if things went awry this summer. If Kyrie Irving bolts in free agency and the C's lose out on Anthony Davis, Danny Ainge could look to unload the maximum contracts of Hayward and Al Horford to do a mini-rebuild around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

If Irving stays, though, don't expect Hayward to go anywhere. Ainge acquired the 29-year-old to be a key contributor on a title-contending Boston team, and Hayward has shown encouraging signs he can still be that player after his October 2018 leg injury (suffered in Cleveland, ironically).

The Celtics have bigger fish to fry as they aim to dispatch the Indiana Pacers in the first round. But here's another reminder that if Boston bows out early, things could get very, very interesting this offseason.

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