NBA Insider Wonders If Gordon Hayward Can Handle Pressure Of Playing For Celtics

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Are we putting too much stock into the idea Gordon Hayward could sign with the Boston Celtics?

Hayward long has been considered a potential target for the C’s, but ESPN’s Jeff Goodman raised an interesting question Sunday on WEEI’s “Bradford & Giardi.” What if Hayward, who has spent his entire seven-year career with the Utah Jazz, can’t handle the pressure that comes with playing in Boston?

“I don’t know if they can get a guy like (Hayward),” Goodman said, per WEEI.com. “Everybody thinks, ‘Well, if Gordon Hayward played for Brad Stevens, he’s gotta come here.’ Look, Gordon Hayward is a different dude. He was a loner at Butler. He’s a good kid, but does he fit in Utah? His personality actually does fit in Utah probably better than it does in Boston, and the Jazz aren’t that much further away than the Celtics from going to the (NBA) Finals.”

Hayward is coming off his best season yet, averaging a career-high 21.9 points per game for the Jazz, who defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the NBA playoffs before being swept by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals.

It would make sense for the Celtics to consider pursuing the 27-year-old in free agency, especially if they hope to overcome the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference next season, but the Jazz can offer Hayward more money. Leaving dough on the table might not be in the cards if Hayward, who played for Celtics coach Brad Stevens while at Butler, ultimately questions the thought of playing in Boston.

“Maybe he would (give up money). Maybe he respects Brad enough, and he’s grown certainly as a kid that he can handle Boston,” Goodman said, according to WEEI.com. “I’ve seen a lot of athletes get eaten up in Boston, and I’m not sure Gordon Hayward can handle Boston. I worry about that.”

Either way, it’s shaping up to be an interesting offseason for both Hayward and the Celtics.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle.

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