Gordon Hayward is a Boston Celtic. The 27-year-old, who was also considering Utah and Miami, signed a four-year, $128 million deal to play for his former college coach, Brad Stevens.
“I think that was a big part of it,” Celtics radio play-by-play voice Sean Grande said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I don’t want to overplay that relationship because Gordon Hayward, I don’t think, is a terribly understood kid. I think people – because of the Butler background – think of him more of like an Indiana farm kid when this is a cold-blooded professional. If you step back and look at the three coaches and the three situations he was choosing from, you realize this is a pretty sharp guy who’s going to make a good decision. It was a win-win-win for him no matter what he did.”
Hayward was choosing among Stevens, Erik Spoelstra, and Quin Snyder.
“I think the comfort level with Brad as a person was significant,” Grande said. “Because if you think about the other sort of crossroads in his life, when he decided to leave Butler, and how supportive Brad was of him then – I think Brad was going to be supportive of him no matter what he chose today.”
The Celtics, who finished with the best record (53-29) in the East last season, have had quite an offseason. They’ve added Hayward, who averaged 21.9 points per game last season, and drafted Jayson Tatum – perhaps the most versatile scorer in the draft.
“It’s going to make them a more dangerous offensive team,” Grande said of the Celtics’ additions. “Certainly when they’ve run into the inevitable wall of Cleveland in the playoffs the last few years, it’s because Isaiah Thomas didn’t have the help. There was not another go-to guy. And now what you’ve done in back-to-back years – after decades of people saying free agents didn’t want to come to Boston because the Celtics never had salary-cap room – you get a max guy in Al Horford and you get a max guy in Gordon Hayward. The Celtics now just have options. I hate the term super teams, but the way it is now, you go with the most talented players you have and sort of fill in the blanks.”
The addition of Hayward will also soothe fans upset that Boston didn’t land Paul George or Jimmy Butler.
“The Hayward domino had to fall first,” Grande said. “Indiana and Chicago had their reasons for making those deals.