Gordon Hayward choses Boston Celtics in a ‘life-changing decision’

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 04: Gordon Hayward
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 04: Gordon Hayward /

Prize free agent Gordon Hayward will reconnect with his Butler University coach Brad Stevens and join the Boston Celtics.

Boston Celtics fans everywhere are enjoying their 4th of July barbecues as well as some long overdue fireworks.  No, Paul George is not walking through that door, but Gordon Hayward is.

On Tuesday, the coveted free agent star forward made one of the toughest decisions in his life.  He has agreed to a four-year, $128 million deal with the Celtics.

In an emotional column posted in “The Player’s Tribute,” Hayward penned his thanks to Utah Jazz fans and formally announced his decision to join the green.

"“This was a life-changing decision for me and my family, and something we took really seriously,” Hayward wrote in the Tribune.  “And from the very start of this process, one thing stood out as important:  I knew that I wanted the fans and the organization to hear my decision directly from me.And after seven years in Utah, I have decided to join the Boston Celtics.”"

While those words were disheartening to Jazz and even Miami Heat fans, those words ended days of anticipation from Celtics fans.

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It was actually announced earlier in the day that Hayward was expected to sign with the Celtics.  After fans on social media erupted with joy, they were immediately brought back down to earth after Hayward’s agent debunked a decision even being made.

As it turned out from his statement in the Tribune, Gordon Hayward wanted to let his fans in Utah hear (or read) his decision directly from him.  It was a testament to the type of loyalty he has and how hard the decision was for him.

The Brad Stevens influence

Hayward went on to talk about his NBA journey and his growth within the Jazz organization.  He praised his head coach and teammates, but was his college coach, the current Boston Celtics head coach, who ultimately played a large part in his decision.

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"“The last time I had a decision this tough…it was in college, during my sophomore year, after we lost to Duke in the national championship game,” Hayward wrote.  “I’d gotten on NBA radars as a result of my play that March, and there were projections that I might even be a first-round pick in the draft.  And so I had a decision to make: Should I leave my comfort zone at Butler and move on to the NBA?  Or should I stay another year, and give it another go, and try to finish what we’d started – try to win a championship?It was a tough decision.  But there was one person who I knew I could talk to about it from every angle, who I knew would give me the smartest and most honest perspective available: Coach Stevens.”"

The newest Celtics star said Stevens was just as impactful in this decision seven years later.  He gave him space and talked out his options as well as what each opportunity presented to him.  At the end, it was his old coach as well as the winning atmosphere the city of Boston presents that swayed his decision to become the next Indiana-born NBA star to lead the Celtics green.

Next: Boston Celtics 2016-17 player report card: Jae Crowder

For more news surrounding Gordon Hayward and the Boston Celtics, keep it locked here at Chowder and Champions.