Gordon Hayward never was going to please everyone when deciding where he would sign last offseason.
He ultimately chose the Boston Celtics, and one Utah columnist/radio host still isn’t over it.
The Celtics will be in Utah for a game against the Jazz on Wednesday, a game that should have been “the most anticipated” contest of the campaign, according to the author of the piece Gordon Monson. But due to his injury during the season opener, Hayward obviously won’t play.
That didn’t stop Monson from writing a whiny column, in which he blasts Hayward for his decision to come to Boston whilst crowning Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell the kings of Salt Lake City.
There’s a lot to unpack in the attempted hit piece, but here are a couple of the highlights.
“Jazz fans still feel small pieces of rejection from a player who was so appreciated, so expertly tutored and groomed by coaches here, who owed — contrary to what so many said and despite his own strong efforts to improve — the Jazz more than the exit he gave them, ducking out down a back alley to Boston the way he did.
It could have been handled so much better by him, handled in a manner by which he still could have left to play for his college coach and simultaneously eased the departure for his former team by helping it win in the deal, too.
Instead … well, you know how it happened.”
Monson must have missed the part in Hayward’s announcement in the Players’ Tribune where he expressed quite bit of thanks to Utah (hint: it was almost the entirety of the piece, which literally was named “Thank You, Utah”). He’s also not Dennis Lindsey, Utah’s general manger, so it’s not his job to make sure his former team can “win in the deal”.
There also was this yammering about Mitchell.
“It won’t be on account of Donovan Mitchell transforming himself in his rookie season into a better, more promising, more explosive player than Hayward ever was. His ceiling is higher than Hayward’s. His play more exciting. His athleticism, his talent, his popularity more profound.
“And there’s no real revenge greater than simply replacing the dude who skipped town with a superior dude.”
Mitchell has proven to be a quality talent and his NBA ceiling is remarkably high. He deserves to be in the conversation for Rookie of the Year, and is an essential part of Utah’s success. That said, the Jazz were 26-28 prior to the NBA trade deadline and could very well still miss the postseason, so it’s not like they’ve been running away with the West.
There is plenty more Monson lists in his column, but mostly all of it comes down to his point that the Jazz are better off without Hayward, yet they should still be harboring resentment.
The adage “living well is the best revenge” clearly is lost on Monson, but if he is as content with the team now as he claims to be, maybe it’s time to move past Hayward’s decision.