Star free agent forward Gordon Hayward has made his decision final, writing a column in The Players’ Tribune announcing that he is joining the Boston Celtics this summer. The biggest domino left in NBA free agency has fallen.
Hayward’s decision had leaked early Tuesday, but reports indicated his camp wasn’t ready to make anything official. Fast forward, and Gordon has reunited with Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Gordon met with the Miami Heat and Utah Jazz, but ultimately it’s a chance to make a run at the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference that Hayward decided on. Boston has a formidable team, and adding Hayward makes them a legitimate contender with some young pieces and future assets still in the chamber.
The rest of free agency could play out at a faster pace with Hayward’s decision made. This could mean Dion Waiters’ future is coming up next on the agenda, with the Heat now knowing Hayward isn’t in their future. The Lakers have met with Dion, and he’s one of the few players the team has been linked to.
This is a huge blow to the Jazz, who were becoming a legitimate power in the Western Conference with Hayward and Rudy Gobert leading the way. While much of the conference toughens up as teams like the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder make big splashes, Utah is left with a franchise center in Gobert and pieces to pick up sans Hayward and George Hill.
Boston has contracts to move, Utah has a future to figure out and Miami gets to move on to whatever Plan’s B, C and D might be.