Wednesday, October 12 - Boston Shows Interest In Hayward
Zach Lowe of ESPN was running through 30 bold predictions for this upcoming season, and Gordon Hayward departing from the Utah Jazz is one of them.
Lowe went into excruciating detail about how Hayward jetting from Utah could be an actual thing, and it was reported Wednesday that the Boston Celtics have an interest in the 26-year-old small forward.
The Jazz have a ton of guys to pay, and if they down enough beers (just kidding, it’s Utah!), they might convince themselves they have the wing depth to withstand Hayward bolting. His beloved college coach runs a rising team with an easy roadmap to max cap space—and real interest in Hayward, per several league sources.
Hayward would be able to rekindle his flame with his former college coach Brad Stevens if he ran to the Northeast. The duo made national headlines during the 2009-10 season when they led the scorching Butler Bulldogs through the regular season and NCAA Tournament.
They finished with a record of 33-5; Hayward was voted as the Horizon League player of the year, and the Bulldogs trounced Syracuse, Kansas State, and Michigan State before losing to Duke in the National Title game, 61-59.
Now as a potential All-Star, Hayward will likely opt-out of his contract this summer and test the free agency waters-just to see who coughs up a max deal. He finished the best year of his career and averaged 19.7 points, and five rebounds as Utah narrowly missed out on a playoff appearance.
Boston will undoubtedly offer something.
Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley solidify their backcourt, and Al Horford anchors the frontline, leaving the two forward positions up in the air. Boston has a myriad of guys to play the three and the four, but none as skilled as Hayward.
Furthermore, they’ll have about $7.2 million in cap space according to Spotrac, and that’s excluding the guys who have team options for that season.
Adding Hayward, who’s in his prime, would give the Celtics another potent scorer who can get it done from the paint or the perimeter. He’s also a decent defender, and Stevens’ system wouldn’t be foreign to him.
A move like that would make Boston a legitimate contender, and they’d be able to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers in a seven-game series, for sure. The likelihood of him remaining in Utah and being the franchise player, however, is high.