Another Fourth of July, another NBA small forward ditches its solid small market team for a coastal powerhouse.
And while Gordon Hayward leaving the Utah Jazz for the Boston Celtics doesn’t quite send the same shockwaves as Kevin Durant’s move from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Golden State Warriors, don’t tell that to these Jazz fans, who responded to Gordon’s new four-year, $128 million contract with Boston by roasting up his jersey rather than burgers and dogs on Independence Day.
— Jameson Golding (@Jcougar23) July 5, 2017
— spee carlson (@spee_C) July 5, 2017
— Andrew Rembacz (@AndrewRembacz) July 5, 2017
— tate larsen (@TateLarsen) July 5, 2017
As a sophomore at Butler University, Hayward and head coach Brad Stevens, now helming the Celtics, came a full-court heave shy of shocking Duke for the NCAA championship.
“There were so many great things pulling me in that direction,” Hayward wrote for the Players’ Tribune of picking Boston over Utah and the Miami Heat. “… 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.
“And that unfinished business we had together, back in 2010, when I left Butler for the NBA … as far as I’m concerned, all of these years later, we still have it:
“And that’s to win a championship.”
For non-Jazz fans, this is a much-needed win among people who enjoy a balanced, competitive league. With an abundance of talent heading to the already-more-talented Western Conference this offseason, Hayward’s arrival in Boston means at least one team could make LeBron James and Co.’s path to the NBA Finals just a little bit harder this year.