Despite the conflicting reports we were getting all afternoon on this 4th of July Sports Debate Network, the fireworks have finally gone off, at least in Boston because Gordon Hayward has officially decided to sign with the Boston Celtics on a 4-year deal worth around $128 million. The Celtics missed out on opportunities to acquire Jimmy Butler and Paul George via trades. The next big thing aside from those two in the off-season was Hayward. He’s improved his game dramatically having a career year with the Utah Jazz and even led them to a playoff appearance this past season.
Some say this move was a match made in heaven with his old college coach, Brad Stevens, as the head coach of a team that he’s built from the ground up in a system that many say fits perfectly for Hayward. At the same time, he was conflicted because he has spent his whole career with the team that drafted him and we all know that leaving the bond and culture of a team that helped grow you as the player you are today, behind.
I must say, initially I thought that Danny Ainge blew it by not getting Paul George or Jimmy Butler. I didn’t think Hayward would sign if neither of those other players came with him, but Danny got it done and without giving up a single pick. That is how GM-ing is done for the betterment of the team. They have all the chips in their hands, leverage that he can do whatever he wants with right now. He can sit back and see how this new team unfolds with the potential they have, or if things need a bit spicing up he has the assets to make something happen.
There are still some remaining questions we have though. Does Hayward put them over the edge in the East? That is yet to be determined because there is a different kind of animal in the Eastern Conference named the Cleveland Cavaliers. 3 straight Finals, led by the best player in the world right now with an assassin for a sidekick. Boston gets better and the fight may be better this season against the Cavs. They could show a little more resistance, but I don’t personally think Hayward is enough, but I can be wrong. He still doesn’t help their rebounding issue and for a 6’8″ wing, he doesn’t rebound really well. Al Horford is a power forward who has been forced to play center his entire career. Should he play power forward regularly he may be one of the top power forwards in the league. The Celtics need help on the glass. Hayward doesn’t specialize in that, BUT he is someone that can score outside of Isaiah Thomas which is why this deal is good for the Celtics. Adding him helps Thomas a bunch because they don’t have to rely on Thomas to do all of the heavy lifting on offense. Now Hayward relieves some of that pressure and maybe the offense can be more fluid.
There you have it Sports Debate Network, Gordon Hayward is now officially a Boston Celtic.