Posts Tagged ‘Gordon Hayward’

The Utah Jazz suffered a debilitating loss in free agency when Gordon Haywarddeparted Salt Lake City to reunite with Brad Stevens in Boston. That could have been enough to send the organization on a downward spiral toward tanking in 2017-18 to secure a higher pick.

Bolstering the roster with more talent like Ricky Rubio and striking gold with the No. 13 pick in Donovan Mitchell has more than compensated for losing Hayward. Utah owns the fifth seed in the competitive Western Conference with a 40-30 record, and considering what the alternative could have been, new franchise cornerstone Rudy Gobert is thrilled the Jazz never waved the white flag.

“Just try to teach players how to make winning plays, not only good basketball plays but winning plays,” Gobert told USA Today’s Sam Amick when describing head coach Quin Snyder’s system. “Teach every single one to help the team win games.

“A lot of teams are very good doing skill work, strength work. But if you want to win, you have to teach a player how to win. That’s why I don’t believe in tanking, all that stuff. I believe you learn how to win by winning. You don’t learn how to win by losing on purpose to get a 19-year-old who you’ve never seen.”

The Jazz have tasted defeat only twice since Jan. 24, and are currently in the midst of a nine-game winning streak, which is the third-longest in the Association behind Portlandand Toronto. They’re also one of three teams (Toronto and Boston) ranking in the top five in both defense and net rating.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver sent out a memo on Feb. 21 to all 30 teams stressing that intentionally throwing games wouldn’t be tolerated, and that any team caught doing so would be punished.

This came as a result of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban saying during a podcast appearance that “losing is our best option” with Dallas far out of the playoff picture. Those comments wound up costing him $500,000.

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The road to recovery for Gordon Hayward is far from just physical.

The Boston Celtics small forward revealed he’s been experiencing depression during rehab from his horrific leg injury. Moreover, he said the mental toll has “definitely” been more difficult to cope with than the pain from his dislocated left ankle and fractured tibia.

“It’s been painful, but it’s nothing like sitting around watching the team you were supposed to be playing with this year,” said Wednesday on “The Dan Patrick Show.”

“I signed to play for the Boston Celtics this year now to only sit and watch the Boston Celtics this year. That part has been difficult and much more difficult to deal with than the pain.”

The 27-year-old All-Star said he won’t be able to play again until he can run that backdoor alley-oop set play – which he’s connected on so many times before with the Utah Jazz – without thinking about it twice.

“That’s another hurdle at the end there where I may be physically 100 percent, but I have to be mentally there as well.”

Hayward meets with a sports psychologist once a week to help him stay positive. He wouldn’t provide a timeline on when he’ll be back, only saying he’s focused on getting better every day so he can return as soon as possible – whether that’s later this season or sometime the next.

“I work out every day to try to increase my range of motion and increase my strength in my legs so that I can be back as fast as I can,” he said. “Whether that’s this year or this summer or next year, I will just let that happen. But for sure, as a competitor, I’m just trying to come back faster than anyone has ever done it.”

The 6-foot-8 forward signed with Boston over the offseason and suffered his gruesome injury just five minutes into his debut. He averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and a steal last season.

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward suffered a dislocated left ankle and fractured tibia as a result of his gruesome first-quarter fall during Tuesday’s season opener in Cleveland, head coach Brad Stevens said following the loss, according to CLNS Media Network.

Just over five minutes into his Celtics debut, Hayward elevated to catch an alley-oop pass from Kyrie Irving, but crashed to the court when LeBron James flew in to break up the play. Hayward’s left leg and foot crumpled awkwardly beneath him, resulting in a grotesque scene that left his teammates, Cavaliers opponents, and Cleveland fans visibly shaken.

Hayward was stretchered off the court, with the Celtics later announcing that the All-Star swingman suffered a fractured ankle. Stevens further detailed the extent of the leg injury while addressing reporters at the conclusion of Tuesday’s contest.

Hayward was set to be taken in an ambulance to the airport, where he would then fly back to Boston for further evaluation.

Along with Irving, Hayward was a centerpiece of Boston’s offseason overhaul, which left the Celtics with only four holdovers from a 2016-17 team that earned the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed and advanced to the conference final.

The 27-year-old signed a four-year, $128-million maximum contract after averaging 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and a steal in his seventh season with the Utah Jazz last year.

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Gordon Hayward wants you to know that the decision to sign with the Boston Celtics was his and his alone.

The widespread narrative was that he wanted to reunite with former Butler head coach Brad Stevens. While the two are close, Hayward is adamant the bond between player and coach has been blown out of proportion, and may not have been the determining factor in him leaving the Utah Jazz in free agency.

“The relationship between Brad and I has been completely overstated and overhyped from everybody,” Hayward said during a recent appearance on Adrian Wojnarowski’s “The Woj Pod.”

“And you mentioned it. There was always rumors about going to Boston, and those, to me, were always just rumors. I didn’t really ever think about it, because I wasn’t a free agent, wasn’t really concerned with the Boston thing. But everybody else was saying, ‘Oh, he’s going to go to Boston because of Brad.’ And we had a great relationship, but it wasn’t like we were constantly texting each other or calling each other. He’s the head coach of the Boston Celtics. He’s got things to worry about.

“I played for Brad for two years. And so it wasn’t like everybody kind of made it seem, like we were besties or something.”

In Hayward’s Players’ Tribune piece he penned to announce his decision to join the Celtics, the 27-year-old referred to Stevens as the one he “could count on the most,” and asserted the two have unfinished business together in the form of winning a championship, which they failed to do as Bulldogs.

The path of least resistance to that title comes in the Eastern Conference, and earning $128 million over four years to make a go of it isn’t bad either. Still, it’s hard to imagine Hayward choosing Boston if Stevens weren’t there, no matter how he wants to paint the picture.

 NBA: Utah Jazz at Sacramento Kings
Gordon Hayward is officially bound for Beantown, with the Boston Celtics announcing Friday they signed the prized unrestricted free agent.

After spending the first seven years of his NBA career with the Utah Jazz, Hayward tested the open market for the first time this summer, meeting with his incumbent team in addition to the Celtics and Miami Heat.

In a saga documented by his agent, Mark Bartelstein, Hayward changed his mind multiple times before making the “gut-wrenching” choice to leave the only club he’s ever known for greener pastures in Boston.

Hayward personally announced the decision with a post on The Players’ Tribune, indicating he thinks he can win a title with the Celtics, who reached the Eastern Conference finals this past season. The Indiana native is also excited to reunite with Brad Stevens, who was his coach at Butler and currently mans the sidelines for the men in green.

The Jazz and Celtics reportedly discussed sign-and-trade options involving Hayward and small forward Jae Crowder, but Danny Ainge ultimately elected against compensating his new star’s former club.

Although nothing materialized on that front, Boston did need to clear cap space in order to pay Hayward the max, so the organization shipped off starting shooting guard Avery Bradley – who has one year and $8.8 million left on his contract – to the Detroit Pistons.

The Celtics rolled out the red carpet for the 27-year-old Hayward, enhancing their recruiting meeting with a video at Fenway Park and appearances from stars he’d join in Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford.

Hayward’s coming off his best season yet, as he averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and a steal over 73 games. He also earned his first All-Star nod and led the Jazz to the West semifinals.

In Boston, he’ll round out a talented Big Three and boost the club’s chances of taking down the Cleveland Cavaliers, who eliminated the Celtics in five games in the East finals.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Sacramento Kings

The Boston Celtics jersey has been Photoshopped on his image, and the next chapter in Gordon Hayward‘s career is about to begin.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, despite all reports of Hayward “agonizing” over his decision to part ways with the Utah Jazz, the writing was very much all over the wall prior to his official announcement.

Brooklyn Nets forward and former Jazz player Trevor Booker told the Tribune the weight of having the Utah franchise on his shoulders was something Hayward never wanted.

“Gordon’s a guy who doesn’t really want to be the man,” Booker said. “… I’m not sure he wanted a franchise on his shoulders. Gordon’s a great player, and one of the best players in the league. But I wasn’t really surprised at his choice. I heard the rumors.”

As the Tribune outlines, the Jazz spent most of the past year trying to orchestrate the correct moves that would keep Hayward in Utah, which most recently prompted them to acquire point guard and expert playmaker Ricky Rubio from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for a first-round draft pick.

While the Jazz worked on creating a strong core for Hayward, his inclinations to leave have been apparent to others since before this year’s draft. Sources told the Tribune that Hayward made it clear to teammate and friend George Hill in a phone call that returning to Utah “was nowhere close to guaranteed.”

Utah Jazz v Milwaukee Bucks

Rudy Gobert plans to stay in Utah for the long haul.

While circumstances can certainly change, the 7-foot-1 Frenchman appears to have every intention of remaining with the Jazz for the entirety of his career.

“Yeah. Why not?” Gobert told Jody Genessy of the Deseret News.

“To me, I think it would be stupid for me to leave right now,” he added. “I really love the organization. I love to live in Salt Lake.”

With Gordon Hayward now in Boston, Gobert undoubtedly ranks as the Jazz’s top player after being voted to both the All-Defensive first team and the All-NBA second team this past season.

Even after enduring a rough offseason, Gobert has high hopes for the Jazz going forward and remains optimistic that Utah can capture a title one day.

“My vision is to win a championship,” Gobert said. “It hasn’t changed.”

The Stifle Tower is coming off a season in which he averaged career highs in points (14), rebounds (12.8), and blocks (2.6), while shooting a blistering 66.1 percent from the floor.