With Hayward finally choosing Boston, it will no doubt change the fate of the rest of the league.
With a lot of stars heading West this offseason, it looked like LeBron was going to cakewalk his way through the Eastern Conference yet again. But with Hayward and Isaiah Thomas leading the way, the Celtics could be primed to make a serious run.
The Parameters: Gordon Hayward will leave the Utah Jazz to join the Boston Celtics on a 4-year/$128 million deal with a year 4 player option.
Boston Celtics: A+
DANNY AINGE DID IT. HE REALLY SQUIRRELING DID IT. People doubted. They said it was too hard. They said he couldn’t get a star. Well what did Danny do? He looked at those haters and said, “Hold my sugar-free juice box” (Family friendly!) and signed an All-Star. People said free agents wouldn’t come to Boston. Ainge signed two former All-Stars in successive seasons. They said he couldn’t make a trade, and though people have argued the merits of it, made a big trade; trading from #1 to #3 and getting a future pick. They said they couldn’t beat Cleveland.
Cleveland won the series, but Boston did get the first seed and won a game in the series without their grieving, injured, toothless star. Tatum looked great in his first summer league game. Heck, he made a game-winning ice-in-his-veins-level shot to beat Fultz’s Sixers! And now they have another All-Star wing, with another Nets pick as well as a LAL or SAC pick. I’d say he’s doing pretty well for himself, wouldn’t you? What could be the issues? Well, cap space, for one. The $10 million lower the cap is as compared to its original estimate could be an issue.
Gordon Hayward: A+
Gordon, as he discussed in his emotional Players’ Tribune article, has an amazing relationship with Celtics coach Brad Stevens. He gets to play on the reigning #1 seed in a conference that is suddenly in danger of being relegated to the D-League, with the exception of a few teams, including of his own Boston Celtics. He has loads of talent backing him up, including All-Star Isaiah Thomas, with whom the teams should have a nice 1-2 punch. There’s Al Horford, a floor-spacing big man with arguably better passing than any other Celtic. And of course, beyond two-way guys like Crowder and Bradley, there’s the youth. Zizic, Nader, Jones, Smart, Rozier, Brown, Tatum, Ojeleye, Allen, Bird, Yabusele, ’18 Nets pick, ’18 Lakers or ’19 Kings… yeah, this team will be good for a long time. And Hayward and Thomas will be right there to lead them into the promised land.
[Side note: Shoutout to Keith Smith of RealGM, who put this into words better than I could (probably because I’d include a lame joke)]