Celtics

Why Gordon Hayward might miss time with Celtics after entering NBA's Orlando bubble

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Why Gordon Hayward might miss time with Celtics after entering NBA's Orlando bubble

Gordon Hayward and his wife Robyn have three children with a fourth on the way in September. 

Hayward said he has been at the birth of the first three. 

And he’ll be there for the birth of child No. 4 even as the Celtics start gearing up for the restart to the NBA season that will have Hayward and the rest of his teammates in Orlando, Fla. potentially into the month of October. 

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Hayward, in a conference call with reporters on Friday, said he will leave the bubble in Orlando to be with his wife to welcome their first son into the world. 

Having spent the past three months almost exclusively with his wife and three daughters, Hayward acknowledged he’ll miss not being around them when he’s sequestered in Orlando along with his teammates. 

A number of NBA players gave serious consideration to not returning to play for health concerns amid the coronavirus, or to continue amplifying the conversations about racism sparked by the death of George Floyd. 

“For a lot of people in the NBA, it’s a difficult decision,” Hayward said of returning to complete the season which was suspended on March 12. “To compete for a championship, compete for a title … we want to finish something we worked hard for all year.”

And for the Celtics to be among the last teams standing, they will need Hayward to continue building off of a season in which he was as close to being “All-Star” Gordon as we’ve seen since coming to Boston. 

Hayward averaged 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game this season while shooting 50.2 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from 3-point range. 

And now there’s a chance that the Celtics will be without Hayward for some portion of the postseason due to the birth of his fourth child. 

As important as Hayward's presence and play may be to Celtics fans and to his teammates, this global pandemic that we are still in the midst of has taught many lessons about what really matters most. 

Some within our society don’t get it. 

Glad to see Hayward isn’t one of them by making it 100 percent clear where he stands by prioritizing what matters most in the grand scheme of things — family. 

Jaylen Brown has Marcus Smart's back after NBA Awards finalist snub

Jaylen Brown has Marcus Smart's back after NBA Awards finalist snub

There's what NBA Awards voters think about the best players in basketball -- and then there's what the players think.

The league announced three finalists for each individual award for the 2019-20 season Saturday, and no Boston Celtics player (or coach) made the final cut.

But were any Celtics players deserving? Jaylen Brown apparently believes so. Here's what the C's wing tweeted Saturday afternoon:

The league announced Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis and Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert as the three finalists for Defensive Player of the Year earlier in the day.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Magic, which begins Sunday at 4 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 5 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

If you ask Brown, though, C's teammate Marcus Smart is a better defender than all three All-Stars.

Smart's "Defensive Player of the Year" campaign began early in the 2019-20 season and gained plenty of supporters, including former Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade.

History wasn't on Smart's side, however: A guard hasn't won DPOY since Gary Payton in 1996, and the gritty Celtics shooting guard entered the NBA bubble as a +10000 long shot to win the award.

But Brown gets to see Smart make incredible defensive plays -- and lock up NBA stars of all shapes and sizes -- on a nightly basis.

So, while Smart won't be officially recognized for his defensive prowess this season, his peers still know what he brings to the table.

NBA Awards finalists: Kemba Walker believes ex-Hornets teammate got snubbed

NBA Awards finalists: Kemba Walker believes ex-Hornets teammate got snubbed

Kemba Walker still has plenty of love for his former Charlotte Hornets teammates -- especially when he feels they're being disrespected.

The NBA revealed its individual award finalists for the 2019-20 season Saturday, among them the three candidates for Most Improved Player: Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic and New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram.

If you ask Walker, though, that list should have included Hornets guard Devonte Graham. The Boston Celtics guard tagged Graham in the comment section of the NBA's Instagram post along with a "puzzled look" emoji.

Walker wasn't alone: Charlotte's P.J. Washington, Dwyane Bacon and Miles Bridges all replied with similar comments -- as did Graham himself on his own Instagram story.

"So disrespectful but it is what it is," Graham wrote Saturday afternoon.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Magic, which begins Sunday at 4 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 5 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Kemba and Co. may have a case: Graham exploded for 18.2 points and 7.5 assists per game this season after averaging 4.7 points and 2.6 assists per game while backing up Walker as a rookie in 2018-19.

Then again, you also could make a case for two of Walker's current teammates in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who both are enjoying career seasons for the Celtics.

Walker was very close with last season's young Hornets squad, though, so his support of Graham isn't surprising.

The C's will be shut out of this year's NBA Awards ceremony, as no Celtics players were named finalists for any award (despite Marcus Smart's early campaign for Defensive Player of the Year).

Here's the full list of finalists for each award:

Most Valuable Player
• Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
• James Harden, Houston Rockets
• LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

Rookie of the Year
• Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
• Kendrick Nunn, Miami Heat
• Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

Defensive Player of the Year
• Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
• Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
• Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Sixth Man Award
• Montrezl Harrell, LA Clippers 
• Dennis Schröder, Oklahoma City Thunder
• Lou Williams, LA Clippers

Most Improved Player
• Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
• Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks 
• Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans

Coach of the Year
• Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee Bucks
• Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City Thunder
• Nick Nurse, Toronto Raptors