Celtics Officially Sign Gordon Hayward

JULY 14: Ten days after Hayward made his decision, he has formally signed his new maximum salary contract with the Celtics, the team confirmed today in a press release. Boston cleared the necessary cap room earlier today by waiving Jordan Mickey.gordonhayward vertical

JULY 4: Gordon Hayward has made it official. In a piece for The Players’ Tribune, Hayward has announced that he has decided to join the Celtics as a free agent. Hayward will receive a four-year maximum salary contract from Boston with a player option on the final year, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter links).

“After seven years in Utah, I have decided to join the Boston Celtics,” Hayward writes. “I know that will be tough to hear for Jazz fans — and I really want you all to know that you mean the world to me and my family. Over the past few days, I’ve been genuinely torn. And I know that this process isn’t easy on the fans, either. So I just want to be as straight-up as possible about why I’m coming to Boston.

“There were so many great things pulling me in that direction,” Hayward continued. “There was the winning culture of Boston, as a city — from the Sox, to the Pats, to the Bruins. There was the special history of the Celtics, as a franchise — from Russell, to Bird, to Pierce, and it goes on. There was the amazing potential of this current Celtics roster, as a team — from ownership, to the front office, to a talented roster with Isaiah, and Al, and everyone else. And of course, there was Coach [Brad] Stevens: Not just for the relationship that we’ve built off the court — but also for the one that we started building on the court, all of those years ago, in Indiana.”

It has been an eventful day for Hayward, as a report from Chris Haynes of ESPN indicating that Hayward planned to sign with the Celtics was shot down by other outlets, with Hayward’s agent Mark Bartelstein issuing a statement confirming that his client hadn’t finalized his decision. However, Haynes’ scoop proved accurate, with Hayward formally announcing his new team a few hours later.

By joining the Celtics, Hayward will be in line for a four-year contract worth $127,829,970, though he may end up not opting into that fourth year. By that point, he’ll have 10 years of NBA experience, which would put him in line for a new max deal worth 35% of the cap instead of his current 30%. That potential desire to opt out after year three reduced the importance of Utah’s ability to offer a fifth year.

Before they finalize the signing of Hayward, the Celtics will have to make a series of salary cap moves to create the necessary cap room for his lucrative new deal. In addition to renouncing their free agents, the C’s figure to pull Kelly Olynyk‘s qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent. Jordan Mickey and Demetrius Jackson are candidates to be waived, and Boston will likely have to make at least one trade — Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Terry Rozier, and Jae Crowder are among the candidates to be moved. Teams are already engaging the Celtics on possible deals, tweets Chris Mannix of The Vertical.

By adding Hayward, the Celtics made a big free agent splash for the second straight summer, having signed Al Horford a year ago. The team wasn’t able to land a second star like Jimmy Butler or Paul George via trade, but the reigning No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference has added an All-Star forward in Hayward and the No. 3 overall pick in Jayson Tatum, and still has a collection of future draft picks at its disposal, setting the franchise up very well for the future.

Hayward’s move to the Eastern Conference also comes at a time when most of the league’s stars who are changing teams are heading west. Butler is now in Minnesota, George is headed to Oklahoma City, and Paul Millsap will land in Denver. The talent drain in the East should give Hayward a clearer path to a spot in the NBA Finals, though Boston will still have to overcome LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

As for the other two teams involved in the Hayward sweepstakes, the Jazz are hit the hardest, having lost both Hayward and George Hill today. The team was able to add a replacement for Hill by acquiring Ricky Rubio last week, but replacing Hayward’s production will be much more difficult.

Still, now that they no longer need to accommodate a max deal for Hayward, the Jazz have some options. According to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), Utah has scheduled a meeting with Wizards RFA Otto Porter. However, Utah currently doesn’t have the cap space for a max offer for Porter, and moving contracts to open up that room would be risky, since the Wizards could match any offer.

Meanwhile, the Heat have a chunk of available cap room that they can now use on other players as well. Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reports (via Twitter) that Bartelstein, who also reps Miami free agent forward James Johnson, is “working on something” for Johnson and will talk with Pat Riley tonight.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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67 thoughts on “Celtics Officially Sign Gordon Hayward

  1. raz427

    It seems like these “lesser” NBA teams do not stand a chance in retaining their key/franchise players in this millennium. I’m starting to think why even have 30 teams when the big money making franchises will have the best players on their teams? NBA should award teams like OKC and Utah a first round pick compensation like MLB does. You reward the teams but also penalize the teams that max out that player also. I’m sorry you cannot have it both ways.

    • raz427

      I meant to say “you reward the teams that sign those key players but penalize the teams that can offer max deals and leave them with nothing”. Sorry should have proof read my comment before hand.

      • Supercollider

        The answer is a hard salary cap like in hockey, but to get it the owners would have to lock out the players.

        • raz427

          I don’t think the owners will EVER agree to that. I think after LeBron’s comments about why players have a hard cap is going to make things worse. A simple first rounder next year if they are a lottery team would do the trick, otherwise you roll forward that pick for however many years that player signs for with his new team (Gordon signed a 4 year).

        • CursedRangers

          It’s not even fun to watch most games anymore. Teams are so unbalanced. You have a handful of super teams. You have another handful of teams purposely tanking. Then the teams stuck in the middle tread water for years until they catch lighting in a bottle.

          • JrodFunk5

            Well said. I like dynastys and prefer the NBA lack of parity over NFL type randomness, but this is getting a little ridiculous

            • JD396

              In basketball, individual contributions are more directly related to victory than in any other sport, so it’s hard to regulate. You want teams to be able to put together good strong runs but… yeah. It’s a little ridiculous.

    • Agreed. And the super-max designation designed to keep stars with their own teams (George and Hayward for example) has almost had an opposite effect. Either the team now loses the player for less than their actual value because they can’t get the super-max contract or teams are forced to trade their star because they have reserves about paying one player that much money (Sacramento Kings and Cousins).

  2. Flubby

    Who’s going to be the guy the C’s trade to clear the cap room? Crowder smart or Bradley? Rozier won’t make enough room..

    • mikedickinson

      Crowder. With Brown, Tatum and now Hayward, he is very replacable and has a deal that other teams will love.

    • Matt Galvin

      Meaning other deals about to happen tonight WOJ just said on Sportscenter.

      • dust44

        Well they gotta keep Rozier, I’d think smart will b the guy to go with the overall lack of PG depth in this league that is quickly becoming guard orientated. Pelicans need a starter.. could b a match. Smart to pelicans for Diallo and a pick. Diallo on a rookie non guaranteed contract that can play in the D/G league this year and c if he can develop.

        • Pelicans don’t need a point guard, they just signed Jrue Holiday to a big deal. Teams want 3-and-D wings more than point guards now too.

          • dust44

            That’s all they got tho. No other guards worth mentioning. Jrue hasn’t stayed healthy and it would clear space for the Celtics and help out the Pelicans. Not sure if anyone can confidently say that Jrue Holiday can make it thru a season. Without a backup option that can start it’s a waste to have 2 dominate bigs

  3. CursedRangers

    These salaries are absurd. The NFL is the most popular sport in America and it’s super stars are making no where near what NBA players are pulling down.

  4. formerlyz

    Rofl…no way I’d be able to release the announcement via players tribune after what happened today. Now it just looks like he was writing the article the whole time, and that was the delay…he would have been better off coming out and saying, I don’t know how it got leaked, but it did. I wanted a chance to thank the Utah organization and fans, and let them know before that, but unfortunately that happened. ..but ya, I’m going to the Celtics, and there will be an article/letter coming out in the coming hours to explain my decision, and thank all those parties for everything they’ve done to this point…something like that…it’s whatever. I’m just saying…I wouldn’t have been able to just release the article like that after what happened

  5. Matt Galvin

    A 3 Trade with Anthony/Hayward Sign in Trade going to Boston,Crowder,Smart,Bradley to New York and Rozier and Draft Picks to Utah?

    • Big Matt

      I would be estatic if knicks got that much for Carmelo at least compared to getting nothing

    • adshadbolt

      Why would the celtics want melo they have Hayward, Tatum and brown they all play the same position and melo makes way too much money anyway.

    • Lol how do the Knicks give up Carmelo and get Crowder, Smart, and Bradley and the Jazz give up Hayward and only get Rozier and picks? The difference between Carmelo and Hayward’s value isn’t as wide as two starters/rotation players.

      • Connorsoxfan

        Massive overpay for Melo, but the Jazz would be lucky to get anything for Hayward at all because Boston has other ways to clear the necessary space. So that’s about right for Utah. Waaaaaay too much for Melo.

  6. formerlyz

    As a heat fan, I mostly just feel bad for utah and their great fanbase. That’s such a good organization. It sucks to see this happen to them as they got to this point.

    The whole white people in boston thing makes sense, let’s not kid ourselves…that might have been a big part of the sell, as well as their assets. He’ll be a really big star there…

    Boston needs a big… Heat should quickly reup with our free agents

    I think Utah will take an obvious step back this year, but next year they should be alright. They did well getting Donovan Mitchell in the draft, and he looked amazing last night. Exums jumper looks improved. If they can stay healthy, they shouldnt be crippled, but it’s obvious that their upside probably isn’t as high. They do need help at the 4 though, and probably need to figure out Alec Burks situation b/c he’s been injury prone

    • redsoxu571

      Yeah, because we all know that the city fell in love with it’s big three team (Pierce, Garnett, Allen, Rondo, Perkins, etc) because of the white players on the team. Take your race baiting BS elsewhere, please.

      • formerlyz

        That’s not what I meant….a white star in boston for the 1st time since Bird would be a big deal. Let’s not pretend it wouldn’t be. And if I recall correctly, celtics fans were all over Pierce when they were wearing paper bags over their heads, barely showing up, and calling Doc trash, and calling for his head before they made the deals for KG and Ray Allen. I’m a red sox fan as well, so don’t tell me that stuff isn’t there in some way there (although unfortunately it’s still prevalent in society in a lot of places). It’s not talked about, but it’s there. A wing player of his size, that can do what he can do, is going to be a really huge star in Boston

          • formerlyz

            Actually I try my best to avoid it, for the most part, or at least the toxic parts of the media.

  7. gmflores27

    Utah is one of the better run teams in the league but incompetence in Boston trumped their competence today. Screw Hayward and the Celtics

    • gmflores27

      Utah better get Crowder out of this or this crooked league will prove itself to be that way even more

  8. Byoung5

    Celtics already have 4 good small forwards,Hayward,Tatum,Brown,and Crowder way would the get another one if I was the Celtics I’d trade for K-Love

    • dust44

      Crowder and Tatum will play the “4” and horford will play the 5. Plus heyward can handle well enough to play 2 and have 3 of those guys on the court at the same time

  9. KCelts

    Isaiah Thomas
    Avery Bradley
    Gordon Hayward
    Al Horford
    Ante Zizic

    Marcus Smart
    Terry Rozier
    Jaylen Brown
    Jayson Tatum

    I am so ready!!!

    • Connorsoxfan

      Dear god can we trade for DeAndre or something if Zizic is our starting center out of the gate we can call it quits right now.

    • dust44

      I would think they would start small and just have Horford at the center spot instead of start a completely unproven guy.

  10. Crowder has to be the one traded if he the Celtics don’t plan on starting Hayward/Crowder together. Besides the fact that the two of them would block Brown and Tatum from getting enough minutes, Crowder also made comments last year about Boston fans wanting Hayward because he felt like the fans (kind of paraphrasing here) thought he wasn’t good enough for them or something along those lines. They can afford to have Smart come off the bench (as that’s been his role since he came into the NBA) but I don’t know if Bradley or Crowder would be thrilled about being relegated to the bench. Crowder doesn’t have as much at stake here, but Bradley getting moved to the bench could hurt his free agent value.

  11. Lastson1986

    Good for him! He wanted to WIN more than he wanted money. Welcome to Boston Gordon! Welcome to the NBA’s GREATEST FRANCHISE!

      • bosox90

        Sure they are, but Boston is better and has an easier path to the finals!

        • justinept

          Boston with Hayward is better these Utah with Hayward. And there’s definitely an easier path to the Finals in the east. But the path to a championship, regardless, still goes through GS. And Heyward’s only real shot at a title for the next 3-4 years is to play for the Warriors.

          Does Boston have the ability to dethrone them? Sure. But they don’t have the balls to do it. This is still an organization more concerned about 5 years from now than they are about the next 2-3 years. Not trading for Butler was a mistake, especially given what the Bulls dealt him for. The same goes for Paul George who – along with Hayward – would’ve given Boston a realistic shot of beating the Warriors this year. I get it when C’s fans say they want to win once GS’s run is over. But that scenario presents multiple unknowns since Thomas and Horford will be finished by then, Hayward will be right at the end of his prime, Bradley and Crowder will be gone, and the team will be built around the development of two young wing players and two draft picks that haven’t been made yet. What if Brown and Tatum don’t become stars? It’s no given. What if those two picks aren’t as good as Boston fans hope they’ll be? And the biggest what if… what if Fultz and Simmons become stars like most expect them to be? If that last one happens, Philly is easily set up to be better than Boston in five years.

          Watching Boston from afar is maddening. They had a real shot to win for the next couple years. But they chose the unknowns.

  12. GMB 883

    justinept:

    Your forgetting injuries happen and although I agree with you all it takes is a sprained ankle to KD or Stephan or KT or DG etc… and then the door is open. The Celtics have to get by Cleveland first. Also keep an eye on Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum. I have a feeling the Celtics fans will forget all about Butler and PG after J&J get some minutes to show what they can do. I actually think Jaylen Brown will start next to Isiah at the 2 guard position with Smart and Rozier off the bench. Zezic and Baynes should be helpful at the 5 with Horford at the 4 and Hayward and Crowder at the 3. Crowder playing the 4 when they play small ball. Yabersele or whatever his name is is an interesting 6-8 power forward who can rebound and actually has done quick feet. Should be an interesting team to watch develop. Not a bad big 3 but not outstanding like the big 4 in GS.

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