The first reason is that since he did not get selected to an All-NBA team, the Utah Jazz cannot offer a super max deal to him. That deal would be around 5 years and 207 million dollars. Instead, the Jazz can still offer a year more than any other team, but cannot offer nearly as much money as any other team. If the Jazz were able to offer a super max deal, it would be a near guarantee for Hayward to stay with the Utah Jazz.
Another reason Hayward could be heading to Boston is that they are somewhat competitive with the top team in their conference. The Jazz just got swept by the Warriors in the second round, whereas the Celtics lost in 5 games to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics did all of this without Hayward, so it only makes sense that the only shot Hayward has at a title involves going to Boston.
Hayward also has a history with Brad Stevens. Hayward played under Brad Stevens while in college at Butler. Stevens coached a Hayward-led Butler squad to the National Championship, where they were a shot away from beating Duke. Again, it only makes sense that Hayward would want to come back to a coach that helped him become Horizon League Player of the Year in 2010.
In Utah’s only game in Boston last season, the Celtics’ crowd cheered for Hayward (knowing that he had an impending player option) to try and direct him to Boston. Hayward sees how much he means to this already great Celtics team. It just makes too much sense to downplay the fact that Hayward and the Boston Celtics have met at the perfect time.
Hayward, at this moment, has his free agency meetings scheduled. First off, he’ll talk with the Miami Heat when free agency kicks off on July 1st. The Jazz and the Celtics follow, in that order. This is probably the best sign for Celtic fans since it is almost a lock that a player ends up signing with the team that most recently sold him on being on their team. It is also worth noting that Hayward was originally going to meet with the Jazz last, but Hayward changed the scheduling.
This seems like a not if, but when scenario. When Hayward signs with the Celtics, expect them to also make a run for Paul George. If the Celtics can win the Eastern Conference with a big 4 of Thomas, Hayward, George, and Horford, I would imagine both Isaiah Thomas and Paul George would be determined to stay with a team capable of beating LeBron James.
This Hayward decision carries a lot of weight for Boston. If Hayward does in fact decide to stay in Utah or go to the Miami Heat, the Celtics will most likely push all of their chips towards waiting until the decline of LeBron. Most importantly though, Gordon Hayward would bring something to Boston that hasn’t been there for a few years; a chance.