Gordon Hayward picks Celtics; Isaiah Thomas approves

Boston coach Brad Stevens coached Hayward at Butler and has a team coming off an Eastern Conference Finals appearance. A tweet by John Habershaw showed Hayward, Stevens and Habershaw's brother posing for a picture. Then another. Then reports came out confirming that Hayward was indeed signing with Boston.

Two league sources immediately confirmed that Celtics president Danny Ainge had not, in fact, heard from Hayward. He hosted the incumbent Jazz on Monday, finishing up a three-city swing that also saw him in Miami on Saturday.

Hayward averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 rebounds per game over the 2016-17 season, all of which were above his career stats averages. "Gordon hasn't made a decision yet", Hayward's agent, Mark Bartelstein, told him.

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For a solid 10 minutes on Tuesday, Celtics fans rejoiced that Gordon Hayward had chosen Boston. However, that also infers that prior to the meeting, there's a chance that Hayward's preference was elsewhere...and that's scary to say the least. The 28-year-old Thomas initially injured his hip during the third quarter of a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 15. Last summer, Al Horford made a decision to sign with the Celtics.

In any case, each hour can seem like a day for the Celtics, who have placed their hopes of adding an All-Star in his prime. They can unilaterally renounce all their free agents, including pulling restricted free agent Kelly Olynyk's qualifying offer, and waive unguaranteed Jordan Mickey. This is the second straight year Boston has acquired a coveted free agent.

After spending his first seven seasons with the Utah Jazz, Hayward is on the open market for the first time in his career.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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