Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas recently followed Utah Jazz All-Star Gordon Hayward on Instagram leading many to speculate that he’s ramping up his recruitment efforts.
The Boston Celtics have long been considered one of the favorite teams to wrestle free agent Gordon Hayward away from the Utah Jazz this summer. Given that they were the number one seed in the East, qualified for the Eastern Conference Finals and just so happen to be coached by Gordon’s former college coach at Butler, the appeal of joining the C’s isn’t hard to see.
In fact, recent reports have indicated that Boston could very well be the front runner to land Hayward and if such is the case, in some ways Utah’s long and arduous rebuild will have been for naught.
Whether or not that ends up being the case remains to be seen, but one thing is certain, the Celtics are highly interested in acquiring Gordon Hayward and will likely stop at nothing to lure him into their ranks. And that goes well beyond Celtics management, you can bet that the players are planning to do their share of Hayward recruiting as well, first and foremost among them being All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas.
Thomas has a well-known history of recruiting players, including his successful efforts to bring Al Horford into the fold beginning with conversations that took place during last year’s All-Star weekend as well as his unsuccessful attempts to woo Kevin Durant to Bean Town.
Continuing that same pattern, there was definite speculation that Thomas was attempting to recruit Gordon Hayward during the 2017 All-Star weekend when the two faced off in the NBA Skills Challenge. While that wasn’t ever necessarily confirmed, given Thomas’ past attempts and Boston’s obvious interest in Hayward, it’s pretty likely that such was the case.
And regardless of what Thomas did or didn’t say to Hayward during All-Star weekend, he certainly sparked the recruitment rumors today as a screenshot that showed Isaiah Thomas just now following Gordon Hayward on Instagram was shared by Bleacher Report and took social media by storm. You can see it for yourself in the tweet below:
Once again, much like was the case when Twitter got a hold of an Instagram photo posted by Hayward’s wife with their daughter in a shirt with a clover on it, crazed fans on social media are probably reading far too much into this. Of course, the timing of Thomas’ follow of the Jazz All-Star is somewhat interesting given the onslaught of Hayward-to-Boston rumors that have surfaced of late, but by no means is this concrete evidence of anything.
However, it more than likely signifies what everyone already presumed would be and has been the case – that Thomas is planning to do everything in his power to make Hayward feel like a part of the team and recruit him to Boston. Make no mistake about it, I wouldn’t be one bit surprised to learn that Thomas and Hayward have been in contact via text message or other avenues and will continue to be until the Jazz free agent makes his final decision.
The fact that Thomas is now following Hayward on Instagram is likely only one further step in a process of attempted camaraderie that began long ago. Thomas and the Celtics want Hayward to feel at home with them so that he may very well opt to make Boston his actual home.
We all know that it takes more than a simple Instagram follow to convince a guy like Hayward to switch teams, but Isaiah Thomas and his persuasive nature could very well be one of the pieces that tips the scale in Hayward’s decision.
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Free agency doesn’t officially start for another two and a half weeks and already several Gordon Hayward rumors have flooded the internet. With such an early onslaught of speculation hinting at a Hayward departure, it’s almost scary to imagine what remains to surface in the coming weeks.
Unfortunately, with each passing day the possibility of Hayward pursuing greener pastures seems to become more and more of a likelihood.