Gordon Hayward’s decision to leave the Utah Jazz and join the Boston Celtics mirrored Kevin Durant’s choice to become a member of the Golden State Warriors from a summer earlier in one way and one way only.
And that’s the way Hayward wanted it.
Both stars announced their free-agent decisions to leave the teams that drafted them via The Players’ Tribune on July 4. But while Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 73-win Warriors, Hayward didn’t want to take that same type of path.
The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach spoke with Hayward’s father, Gordon Hayward Sr., and he said the Celtics’ loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals helped his son decide to make the move to Boston because he wanted the team he joined to be in need of his talents.
“Hayward wanted to go somewhere where an NBA championship was possible, but he had no interest in a ready-made situation, such as the one Kevin Durant entered when he signed with the Warriors last summer,” Himmelsbach wrote. “Hayward Sr. said that if the Celtics had defeated the Cavaliers in the conference finals, his son would have been less interested. But it was clear watching them get pummeled by LeBron James that they needed help, and perhaps he could provide it.”
Hayward, of course, will join All-Star Isaiah Thomas and talented big man Al Horford to form the Celtics’ new Big Three.
And it might not have happened if the C’s had found a way to top the Cavs in the 2017 Eastern Conference finals.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images