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Brad Stevens on Gordon Hayward: “He’s not playing this year”

Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 17: Gordon Hayward #20 of the Boston Celtics warms up prior to playing the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on October 17, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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“When do we get Gordon Hayward back?” It’s the Celtics fans’ version of kids in the back seat saying “are we there yet?” That sentiment got fuel when Hayward posted this video of himself recently dribbling and taking stationary jumpers (with a little lift).

So, “when do they get Gordon Hayward back?”

Next season, Boston coach Brad Stevens said without hesitation Saturday at shootaround before the Celtics take on Houston.

Stevens is trying to squash this topic so he’s not asked about it daily near the end of the season. It’s basically what Stevens and the Celtics have said, just less definitively, all season. It also follows with logic and the way the Celtics have approached team from the start: Build this team to be a long-term contender in the East as the LeBron James era fades, think long-term not short. They were never going to put any pressure on Hayward to return this season, rather the opposite. And with the reports that All-Star weekend Hayward’s ankle was still a little swollen and purple suggest he’s not back this season.

I’d like to think that will end the questions on this topic. But knowing that Celtics’ fans are like my kids in the back seat, I doubt it.