Gordon Hayward dives deep into free-agency decision on podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski
On a Pioneer Day when the state of Utah is celebrated, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski released a podcast with former Utah Jazz and new Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward.
In a conversation that lasted just under an hour, Wojnarowski and Hayward took a deep dive into Hayward’s entire free-agent process. It started with the preparation Hayward and his agent Mark Bartelstein did before free agency opened July 1, then went into the meetings Hayward had with the Miami Heat, Celtics and Jazz, and concluded with Hayward’s ultimate decision-making process.
Hayward said his communication with Utah was very open during the summer and called the team’s acquisition of Ricky Rubio on June 30 “a bold step by them” in an attempt to solidify the point guard position before free agency started.
Hayward said he left his meetings with Miami and Boston feeling as though they were places he could be, but he maintained that the link between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has long been overblown.
“We really talked about going and getting banner 18 more than anything,” Hayward said, referring to the 17 championships Boston has won.
At the beginning of his meeting with the Jazz contingent July 3 in San Diego, Hayward acknowledged there was some awkwardness in the room, but said that went away when they started talking about basketball.
Things started to get emotional, Hayward said, when Greg Miller started talking about bringing a championship to Utah.
“The Salt Lake fans are so passionate,” Hayward said. “That part’s the emotional part because you’re basically playing for the city and playing for the fans and everybody’s so invested.”
After the Jazz left, there was plenty of back-and-forth between Hayward, his wife Robyn and Bartelstein. He said he was leaning toward Boston when he went to bed July 3, but was still unsure.
Once the reports started to surface July 4 that he had decided to join the Celtics, Hayward said he felt pressure to make a decision he said hadn’t been made yet. He said he’s “terrible” in situations such as making phone calls to Dennis Lindsey and Quin Snyder to tell them he had picked Boston.
“It was like a gut feeling,” he said about his ultimate decision. “Just the feeling of putting on a Boston Celtics uniform and competing for a title outweighed everything else for me.”
Listen to the entire podcast here.
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Published at Mon, 24 Jul 2017 20:06:00 +0000