Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Hayward leaves Jazz for Celtics

Top free agent Gordon Hayward announced Tuesday (Wednesda morning in Manila) that he will play for the Boston Celtics, a move that will reunite with him with his collegiate coach, Brad Stevens.

Hayward left the Utah Jazz, the franchise that drafted him ninth overall in 2010, while also spurning the Miami Heat, the other team that courted him throughout his free agency.

In a column posted on "The Players' Tribune," Hayward called his decision "the toughest... that I've ever had to make in my life."

"After seven years in Utah, I have decided to join the Boston Celtics," Hayward said in the post titled "Thank You, Utah."

"There were so many great things pulling me in that direction. There was the winning culture of Boston, as a city — from the Sox, to the Pats, to the Bruins. There was the special history of the Celtics, as a franchise — from Russell, to Bird, to Pierce, and it goes on," he added.
 "There was the amazing potential of this current Celtics roster, as a team — from ownership, to the front office, to a talented roster with Isaiah, and Al, and everyone else. And of course, there was Coach Stevens: Not just for the relationship that we’ve built off the court — but also for the one that we started building on the court, all of those years ago, in Indiana."

According to Hayward, joining the Celtics gives him the opportunity to fulfill the goal that he and Stevens failed to do when they were at Butler - "to win a championship."

Hayward will sign a four-year contract worth $128-million, with a player option on the fourth year of the contract, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports.

Hayward, a one-time NBA All-Star, joins a Boston team that finished as the top seed in the Eastern Conference in the 2016-17 season but lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games in the East Finals.

He will team up with Isaiah Thomas and Jayson Tatum, the No. 3 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.