A recent report from NBA Analyst Jordan Schultz indicates that the Boston Celtics are now the favorite to land Utah Jazz All-Star Gordon Hayward.
If you’ve been following along with recent Gordon Hayward rumors, it hasn’t been a fun ride. Whether it’s been the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics or any other squad, it seems like Hayward’s departure has been presumed likely in a number of ways. Nevertheless, as I’ve pointed out several times lately, the prospect of Hayward leaving is a lot flashier than a story about him leaning towards staying put, so seeing the rumors fly is somewhat expected.
Even though there are certainly allures to other teams, heading into the offseason it seemed like the Utah Jazz were in a prime position to keep Gordon Hayward. They had taken the leap and become a playoff contender, had put valuable pieces around him and have room to further improve this summer.
However, after the Golden State Warriors clearly displayed their dominance over the Western Conference and as the speculation of free agency heats up, it’s becoming more and more accepted that there’s a good chance that the Jazz All-Star may be on his way out of town.
And while for a long time, many considered Utah to be the front runner to land Hayward next season in spite of all the rumors, according to one report it appears that the Celtics, who have been long attached to the star free agent, may now have a leg-up on the Jazz. In a series of tweets from Jordan Schultz of the Huffington Post, he expressed that sources believe that the Boston Celtics are now slightly favored in landing Hayward.
You can check out the thread of tweets below:
A lot of this is old news. The Brad Stevens-Gordon Hayward connection is a dead horse that’s been beaten into oblivion. The appeal to play for a contender makes some sense, but quite frankly, the Boston Celtics proved that they’re just about as far away from the Cleveland Cavaliers as the Utah Jazz are from the Golden State Warriors.
And when you figure in how bad the Cavs were throttled by the Warriors, that makes that fact look even worse. Does simply adding Gordon Hayward to the mix get the Celtics over the hump? I don’t think so. In truth, the Jazz adding another star alongside Hayward could propel them above even a Hayward-led Celtics team.
The news that is surprising is that rather than feeling like Hayward’s inclined to remain with the team that he has helped build from the ground up, these so-called sources feel that instead the Celtics have become his number one choice.
Of course, not all sources are reliable and perhaps these ones have favoritism towards Boston or straight-up misleading information. The Jazz are a notoriously tight-lipped organization, so those currently closest to Hayward may very well know an entirely different story than what Schultz reported today. Any time anonymous sources are cited, it’s always best to proceed with caution before believing them one hundred percent.
But the one thing that is without a doubt concerning is how quickly the rumors of Hayward leaving are gaining steam. Even a half-truth has to come from somewhere, and it almost can’t even be disputed that Hayward is at least seriously considering signing elsewhere.
If this latest rumor is to be believed, it quite frankly spells bad news for the Jazz for obvious reasons. At this point, Hayward largely already knows what he’ll get if he stays in Utah (unless the organization makes an incredibly bold move between now and the start of free agency) whereas if he’s already leaning towards Boston as it is, then they won’t have much work cut out for them as they try to convince him. If they’re already his preference, it will take little for them to tip the scale.
In other words, if this report is true, then Hayward is already Boston’s to lose.
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The lone consolation comes from the fact that if there is truth to the rumor, it’s very likely that Dennis Lindsey and Co. already know about it and are already springing to action to put a contingency plan together. Make no mistake about it, there’s never a quick fix to replacing an All-Star, but I have confidence that the Jazz will still be able to bounce back.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t change the fact that losing Hayward would be devastating for the franchise. As the rumors continue to snowball from bad to worse, I don’t know about the rest of you Jazz fans out there, but I could really use a dose of good news on the Hayward front.
Unfortunately, who knows whether or not it will ever come.