— Gordon Hayward (@gordonhayward) August 15, 2017
TBA NO MORE
The full NBA schedule was released earlier this week, and the Boston Celtics will play the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City one time this year. On March 28th, 2018 Gordon Hayward will step back on to the Vivint Smart Home arena floor. The curiosity that peaks my mind is how will the Utah fans treat him when he is announced in the starting lineup.
Gordon Hayward was drafted 9th overall in the 2010
by the Jazz after leading Butler to the National Championship game under head coach Brad Stevens. Hayward improved every season and led a young Jazz team to two playoff appearances (2012, 2017) including a second round trip this past season where they eventually got swept by the Golden State Warriors. Hayward started 408 of the 516 games he started in Utah, and had a career high 21.9 ppg as the go-to option for the Jazz.
As a free agent this summer, Hayward signed with the Boston Celtics for 4 years, $128 million max deal. This move re-acquaints him with his college coach at Butler, Brad Stevens. This was likely the main reason for Hayward’s decision, but others surely factored in:
- Easier path to the NBA Finals in the East, especially with more stars heading West or joining other stars (CP3 in Houston, Paul George to OKC)
- Established team with two big pieces (IT4, Horford)
- Exciting young core of stars, new pieces (Brown, Smart, Tatum, Rozier, Morris)
- In the next four years, Cleveland will dissemble, LeBron and Kyrie will leave
Will Utah fans BOO Gordon Hayward when Boston plays the Jazz on March 28th?
— Boston Sports Report (@BSR_Official_) August 17, 2017
March 28th, 2018
In a poll I ran earlier this week, more than half of the votes said the Jazz fans would not be too receptive of Hayward’s appearance. I personally think it will be a mix, but I can understand why he would be booed. This guy was the leader of a team that he took to the second round with a young core. Thing could seem to be looking up for them, and if Hayward stayed, maybe they could have landed a big free agent. He was also their for seven years, and he was loved in Utah. Remember also, there is no other professional team in Salt Lake City. The people who do cheer are the ones who appreciated what he did for Utah but understand his decision.
I expect Hayward to be booed, but honestly it was the right choice. Utah is not going much farther in the West. Boston has a great chance to be in the 2018 NBA Finals. I am also curious of what teams records will be at that time in late March. Utah could have a tough year and may not even make the playoffs. Either way, I can’t wait for the Gordon Hayward era to start in BOSTON!!
Gordon Hayward in Celtic Green. 🍀 pic.twitter.com/F4wnUyOlYu
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) August 17, 2017
- Gordon Hayward: Flickr