The Boston Celtics have the richest tradition of any NBA franchise. A long list of Hall of Famers and a league-record 17 championship banners are the biggest parts of that.
Gordon Hayward, the most sought after free agent entering the week, was drawn to the Celtics’ tradition of excellence when deciding whether to sign with the Boston, the Miami Heat or stay with the Utah Jazz. He ended up choosing to sign with the Celtics on Tuesday.
Hayward’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, told Jody Genessy of the Deseret News that “the whole Celtic mystique and tradition was really inspiring for (Hayward) to be a part of that.”
The 27-year-old forward, who averaged a career-high 21.9 points per game last season, made just two playoff appearances in sevens seasons with the Jazz. Utah’s only trip to the second round with Hayward came last season, but the Jazz were swept by the Golden State Warriors.
In Boston, Hayward has the ability to reach the conference finals on a regular basis. The LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers are the Celtics’ only major roadblock to the NBA Finals, although that might not be the case for much longer if there’s truth to the rumors of James wanting to bolt for Los Angeles next summer.
Hayward now has a chance to be part of a special group of players who’ve won a championship for the Celtics. It’s going to be the greatest challenge of his career, but one he’s well-equipped to take on with former college coach Brad Stevens running the show in Boston.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images