Celtics

Stevens: Hayward 'NOT playing this year'

Stevens: Hayward 'NOT playing this year'

HOUSTON –  Brad Stevens and the Celtics have been consistent in talking about Gordon Hayward not coming back this season.

And as one social media post after another pops up, Celtics Nation continues to hold out hope that he can somehow return and play this season.

Not happening, said coach Brad Stevens.

“He’s not playing this year,” Stevens said (again) to reporters this morning. “I don’t know what else to say.”

Stevens’ response was to a video Hayward released on Friday showing Hayward doing some ball-handling drills but more important, taking shots while leaving the ground.

It may not seem like that big a deal, but it’s a big deal image-wise because it shows Gordon doing exactly what the Celtics are looking for him to do when healthy – make shots.

That’s just part of the process he’s involved with to get back on the court as soon as possible.

Hayward did another workout this morning using the anti-gravity treadmill, one in which he has gradually increased the amount of weight he puts on his feet.

“He’s up to 60 percent of his weight,” Stevens said. “If you’ve ever run in the Ultra-G, it feels like you’re flying without your legs touching the ground.

Stevens added, “the videos are great. They continue to show the progress. Sometimes when you’re in the midst of that long rehab, you don’t feel the progress of the day-to-day. Now, we all might see a video or somebody that hasn’t see him may see a video and say, ‘he really is getting better.’ But he’s super-long way away, from even being in a one-on-one workout where he’s cutting.”

Shortly after suffering a dislocated left ankle injury just five minutes into the season opener at Cleveland, the Celtics made it clear that they did not expect Gordon Hayward to return to action this season.

Since then, Hayward has attacked his rehab with a seemingly renewed focus on doing all he could to get back in time to help the Celtics near the end of the season or in the playoffs.

So...we’ll check back in tomorrow on Hayward?

“Check back tomorrow,” quipped Stevens. “He’ll be doubtful Monday.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

 

Bean: Kawhi in Cleveland makes great theater for everyone

Bean: Kawhi in Cleveland makes great theater for everyone

Other than LeBron Watch, Kawhi Watch will likely be the most captivating Watch of the NBA offseason,  and there's obviously a chance the two end up in the same place. Regardless of what happens with LeBron, I've officially decided where I want Kawhi to land. 

Cleveland. 

I've got my reasons, but I'll start with why I'm not clamoring for the C's to get one of the five best players in the league. Yes, the C's can offer the best package, but I don't want them to make an offer the Spurs can't refuse. I don't want them to trade Jaylen Brown and the Sacramento pick for a flight risk. I don't want them to trade Kyrie Irving. I want them to be loaded, as they currently are, and set to add to that in the future. 

Leonard supposedly wants to be traded to the Lakers. The more well-connected basketball reporters have noted the Spurs wouldn't have any motivation to turn the Lakers into a Western Conference powerhouse, which makes sense. 

So, if it's not going to be the Lakers, make it the Cavaliers. 

This might sound ridiculous, but I want LeBron James to be a character in this Celtics group's run. One of the things that made the 2017-18 Celtics' run so exciting was that it culminated in a showdown with LeBron, the best player in the league and the centerpiece of great Celtics series past. 

I don't want the Celtics to go on runs with LeBron in a different time zone. I want battling (and beating) the best player of this generation to be part of what the Tatum Era does. If the Cavs can land Leonard, maybe that will keep James from bolting in free agency. 

They're also rumored to be inquiring about Kemba Walker's availability from Charlotte to help surround LeBron with another star.

To be fair, I wrote last week that I'm fine with LeBron going to the Lakers and even forming a super team with Kawhi and Paul George. That's because I think either that team or the Warriors would be all tuckered out by the time they got to the finals against a Celtics team that just waltzed through the East. 

That wouldn't be as fun though, especially if the Lakers kept getting eliminated by Golden State. If the Celtics have another championship run coming during the final years of LeBron's career, I want it to involve a Kyrie/LeBron matchup. I certainly want it to involve a competitive underdog, and I don't trust the 76ers for that yet. Considering they probably wouldn't be able to get much else, a team of LeBron, Kawhi and a bunch of junk still wouldn't be favored against the Celtics at full health. 

If LeBron goes somewhere West this offseason, I'd still want the Cavs to get Kawhi. Assuming Kawhi actually plays, he'd at least keep the Cavaliers a playoff team and an interesting opponent. 

Could the Cavaliers actually get Kawhi? I don't see why not. If his status as a player who can opt out after next season scares some teams away, the eighth overall pick and whatever they could get for Kevin Love would already make their offer better than whatever the Lakers would try to scrape together. Sacramento could always trump everyone by offering the second overall pick for Leonard, but that would be stupid. Then again, sometimes the Kings are stupid. 

Kawhi in Boston? Not at the likely price, and not if it means that much risk. LA? Predictable. Put Kawhi in Cleveland, keep the East exciting and give LeBron a real decision to make. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

BREAKFAST POD: Jaylen and Rozier for Kawhi?

BREAKFAST POD: Jaylen and Rozier for Kawhi?

1:43 - Chris Mannix joined Gary Tanguay and Kyle Draper on Early Edition to discuss if the Celtics could trade up in the draft, and if the Celtics have any chance of acquiring Kawhi Leonard.

6:35 - Phil Perry talks about Albert Breer’s report that the Patriots talked with four teams (Lions, Titans, 49ers, Texans) about trading Rob Gronkowski. We also hear from Holley, Merloni, and DJ Bean about Tom Brady commenting “cuarenta y cinco” in response to an Instagram post about when he’ll retire.

10:34 - Lou Merloni and Chris Gasper debate how important it is for the Red Sox to avoid the Wild Card play-in game and win the AL East over the Yankees. 

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE:


NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE