On a drama-filled 4th of July, Utah Jazz free agent Gordon Hayward has yet to make his final decision…and it may not come for yet another day.
So, it looks like I might have jinxed things…
On Monday – the same day that Gordon Hayward’s meeting with the Utah Jazz took place – I mentioned that there was a very real possibility that Hayward could unveil his free agency decision that very night.
However, after being thoroughly impressed by the Jazz’s presentation, it was announced by several sources late Monday that Hayward would instead make his decision on the 4th of July, marking the second straight year that Independence Day has had enormous bearings for NBA fans, so I reported on that as well.
However, despite my eagerness to report when the Hayward decision would likely come, it turns out that the answer may still not be forthcoming even today.
Early on the day of the 4th, it looked like a decision was nearing. Fans were on pins and needles, reports surfaced that the announcement was imminent, then as my The J Notes colleague Ryan Aston pointed out, the news “broke” that Hayward was indeed headed to Boston.
At 12:17 PM MT, ESPN’s Chris Haynes tweeted out the news. However, shortly after that, Adrian Wojnarowski told everybody to pump the breaks as Hayward had yet to inform either team of his decision and in fact was still undecided. From there, pandemonium ensued.
Perhaps Gordon Hayward truly is waffling to an insane degree. It obviously is an enormous decision and it would make sense that he’d be struggling to come to a final conclusion. The trio of tweets below from the Salt Lake Tribune’s Tony Jones seem to confirm that way of thinking:
To be quite honest, given the previous report prior to his free agency meeting with the Jazz that Hayward could have very well announced his decision that night, it wouldn’t be surprising to me if he was leaning heavily towards the Boston Celtics at that point, but then once he met with Dennis Lindsey, Quin Snyder, Steve Starks, Gail Miller, Rudy Gobert, Ricky Rubio, Joe Ingles and Rodney Hood, perhaps their highly touted presentation truly did give him second thoughts.
This would make a lot of sense considering that the Deseret News’ Jody Genessy reported that he had indeed heard that Gordon was leaning towards the Celtics, and it would also explain why we are where we’re at. About five hours since Haynes’ initial report came out, there still has been no confirmation either way.
However, while it would be nice for Jazz fans to suppose that perhaps this means that Gordon Hayward is having second thoughts and cold feet, and could very well end up back with the Jazz, I have a feeling that’s a long shot at best. It’s more than likely that the Haynes report was based on a leak and either Hayward had something particular in mind for how he wanted to make the announcement or perhaps there were intricacies relating to contracts that needed to be figured out.
For example, our very own Scott Kahn, among others, predicted that a situation involving a sign-and-trade for Gordon Hayward could be in the works, allowing Hayward to soften the blow somewhat by helping the Jazz receive further assets in his departure.
Whatever the case may be, it seems more than likely that Hayward will indeed be on his way to Boston. The question now is, when will that become official? Well, reports are quickly starting to surface that now Hayward’s announcement may not come for yet another day as he and his agent continue “working through it” as Woj put it in the aforementioned tweet above.
And as a result, free agents around the league aren’t happy with the delay as you can see below:
In other words, the NBA appears to be in one great holding pattern until Hayward makes his final decision. Although it’s quite likely that he’s still headed to Boston, hopefully reports that he’s still trying to decide are sincere and not just a smokescreen to cover up an announcement job gone wrong.
If Hayward has truly made up his mind, it doesn’t seem consistent with his character that he’d continue to lead fans on like this, but the only ones who truly know what’s going on inside his head are likely himself and possibly his agent.
Anyhow, as if the wait and the suspense haven’t been torturous enough, it appears we may have to wait yet another day to get a final decision.
But at this point, Jazz fans, don’t be surprised if the answer ends up being what we already presume it to be. Stayward more than likely is about to go Wayward…