A lot was made about Gordon Hayward’s relationship with Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, and apparently, the noise was justified.
Hayward announced Tuesday, in an article on The Players’ Tribune, he was leaving the Utah Jazz to join Stevens, his former coach at Butler Universiy.
While Hayward admitted it was a difficult decision to leave the Jazz, he noted his relationship with Stevens played a crucial role in the decision as it did with the last tough choice Hayward had to make.
“The last time I had a decision this tough … it was in college, during my sophomore year, after we lost to Duke in the national championship game,” Hayward wrote.
“It was such a tough decision. But there was one person who I knew I could talk to about it from every angle, who I knew would give me the smartest and most honest perspective available: Coach Stevens.”
Stevens helped Hayward decide to leave Butler after his sophomore season, and in doing so, the Celtics head coach created a strong bond with his former player.
“But it always meant a lot to me, to know how, in that moment, even with our lives at this strange crossroads together, Coach Stevens was someone I could count on,” Hayward wrote.
“And I guess it’s pretty crazy. Because seven years later, I had to make an even tougher decision — and again, Coach Stevens and I found ourselves at a crossroads together. And again, he was the person I knew I could count on the most.”
And while there were many factors that pushed Hayward to take his talents to Boston, most of all he wanted to accomplish with Stevens in the NBA, what the pair fell short of at Butler.
“And of course, there was Coach Stevens: Not just for the relationship that we’ve built off the court — but also for the one that we started building on the court, all of those years ago, in Indiana.
“And that unfinished business we had together, back in 2010, when I left Butler for the NBA … as far as I’m concerned, all of these years later, we still have it:
“And that’s to win a championship.”
It appears Hayward’s move was seven years in the making, he just didn’t know it until Tuesday.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images