Gordon Hayward picks Boston, signs max deal with Celtics (Just kidding, for now)

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 18: Gordon Hayward
NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 18: Gordon Hayward /

 Hayward decided to jettison Utah for greener pastures to play for his former collegiate coach Brad Stevens.

UPDATE: Almost as soon as we published this, David Aldridge stirred the pot and let everyone that  Hayward had not yet decided his future. So pump the brakes on his signing with Boston.

UPDATE 2: It’s been a few hours and Hayward still hasn’t decided what he’s doing. Some reports are that he wanted to wait and announce in The Players Tribune like KD did last year. Others say he hasn’t told the Jazz yet so that’s the hold up. Either way, Hayward Watch 2017 labors on.

UPDATE 3: Yeah, we’re gonna be here for a while it seems. Hayward has the sports world in a holding pattern. No one knows what he’s doing and according to a report from Woj, neither does he. Doesn’t Gordon know it’s the Fourth of July?

UPDATE 4: It’s 4:20pm ET and still no word on Hayward. If you’d like to live in an alternate universe where none of this runaround happened, read the piece below. Or don’t. We’re all just sitting here at this point.

In 1775 Paul Revere rode on horseback throughout the American Colonies exclaiming, “The British  are coming, the British are coming”. 242 years later there’s a new famous phrase roaming the streets of Boston; Gordon Hayward is coming, Gordon Hayward is coming. That’s right Celtics fans, Boston won the Hayward free agency sweepstakes. Despite the unwarranted criticism thrown at Celtics President Danny Ainge for being too patient, The C’s got the guy they have been targeting all offseason, Gordon Hayward.

Chris Haynes of ESPN first reported the agreement between the Celtics and Hayward:

Hayward’s max deal with Boston will come in at $127.8 million over four years. The annual value of the first year of the deal will come out to $29.7 which includes a 5 percent raise each season. If Hayward would have re-signed with the Jazz, he would have been eligible for a 5-year, $172.4 million. Obviously, the #Stayward campaign in Utah wasn’t enough to keep him in Salt Lake City. The Celtics were also able to fend off a strong push from the Miami Heat to close the deal.

The Hayward – Celtics connection makes sense for so many reasons. The former Butler hoops star gets to reunite with his former collegiate coach Brad Stevens. The duo was able to get to the National Title game at a relatively small University 2009-2010 College Basketball season. Stevens was the first coach to ever recruit Hayward so it’s no surprise he repaid the favor and joined the Celtics. Interestingly enough, July 3 marks the anniversary Brad Stevens was hired by the Celtics in 2013. Maybe Hayward was destined to land with the C’s all along. Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford were also on hand to help recruit Hayward to Beantown.

Danny Ainge’s strategy this offseason was to simply go all in for Gordon Hayward. Trading for Paul George or Jimmy Butler would have eliminated the Celtics from singing Hayward for cap reasons. It’s tough to critique what Danny Ainge is building after a 53 win season, capturing the first seed in the East, in the midst of a rebuild. With Hayward in the fold, It looks like it’s only a matter of time before the Celtics dethrone the Cavaliers as the rulers of the Eastern Conference.

Next: NBA Free Agency 2017: 5 offseason needs for the Boston Celtics

Hayward averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game during the 2016-2017 season. Hayward, 27, now becomes the focal point of the Celtics with a young core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and others to build around him.