Boston Celtics win the Gordon Hayward sweepstakes over Miami and Utah

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 18: Gordon Hayward
CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 18: Gordon Hayward /

Gordon Hayward made a life-altering decision on the 4th of July to join the Boston Celtics. Do you still want to bash Danny Ainge?

The Boston Celtics have finally made a splash in NBA Free Agency, as they’ve landed star small forward Gordon Hayward.

Hayward met with the Miami Heat this past Saturday, the Celtics on Sunday, and his former team the Utah Jazz on Monday. Tuesday, on the 4th of July, Hayward made his announcement to sign with Boston.

After missing out on Kevin Durant last offseason, not landing Paul George or Jimmy Butler via trade or signing Blake Griffin this offseason, this is huge for the Celtics and their fans. ESPN‘s Chris Haynes broke the news on Twitter.

It’s likely that Brad Stevens played a huge part in the Gordon Hayward signing. The pair were together for two seasons at Butler, and now Hayward can reunite with his head coach. Hayward also wants to win, and the Eastern Conference is the easier path to get there. It will likely come down to Boston and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference Finals once again. He’ll also have a chance to play in quite a few more All-Star Games.

What Hayward brings to Boston

Over his NBA career, Hayward has steadily improved year to year. Since becoming a starter in 2011-12, he’s risen from 11.8 points per game to 21.9 points per game. Hayward also averages 3.5 assists and 5.4 assists per game. His numbers may dip a little, as he’ll join a strong offensive team, but he should be somewhere around 20 points per game.

Hayward will join a team that has Isaiah Thomas already, a superstar in his own right. Look for that pair to be devastating to opposing defenses.

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More moves to come

The Boston Celtics will now surely look extremely different when the 2017-18 season begins. They’ll have to free up some cap space with trades and waiving free agents. Kelly Olynyk and Jonas Jerebko are certainly gone, and some of our favorites may be moved with trades. Two names that could end up on the trade block are Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley. Both carry contracts of over $6.7 million this season, and AB will be looking for a big payday next summer. Terry Rozier could also potentially be on the move, but those whispers are not as loud right now.

As it stands, Boston will likely play small most of the time. They could elect to stick with Al Horford at center, or they may sign a cheaper veteran or acquire a new center in one of their trades. Here’s what the starting five could look like (without knowing who the Celtics land via trades):

  • PG Isaiah Thomas
  • SG Marcus Smart
  • SF Gordon Hayward
  • PF Al Horford
  • C (Player to be acquired via trade)

If Boston wants to play consistently small, they could move Horford back to center while inserting second-year player Jaylen Brown into a starting forward slot.

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How much do you love this signing for the Boston Celtics? Can they take down the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East? Let us know and react with us on Twitter @CandCFansided.