Gordon Hayward noted how big of a role his relationship with Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens played in his decision to join the team as a free agent. But what he might not have known is that Stevens has been planning a reunion since he arrived in Boston.
Stevens, who coached Hayward at Butler University from 2008 to 2010, joined the Celtics’ rebuilding project in 2013. And following his first season in Boston, he texted Hayward’s parents, Gordon Hayward Sr. and Jody, to tell them he hoped he would be coaching their son again someday, according to The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach.
Hayward was a restricted free agent that summer, so Stevens knew the Utah Jazz would match any offer the C’s could make to his former player. But when Hayward became an unrestricted free agent this July 1, Stevens sent another text to Hayward’s parents.
“His text said, ‘I hope all is well. We’re really looking forward to having Gordon come visit,’ ” Hayward Sr. told Himmelsbach.
While familiarity played a part in Hayward’s decision to join Stevens in Boston, he also was impressed by how much his former coach had grown as a strategist. The two broke down film as part of Hayward’s free-agent visit to Boston, and the superstar forward told his dad he was blown away by Stevens’ basketball acumen.
“Gordon said to me, ‘Dad, it was impressive. It was amazing,'” Hayward Sr. said.
Seven years after Hayward left Stevens and Butler for the NBA, he’ll reunite with his former coach in Boston, and both have come a long way.
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