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Why the Celtics-Sixers trade talk does not affect Gordon Hayward’s decision

First Published      Last Updated Jun 17 2017 08:45 pm

The Gordon Hayward free agent watch continues.

On Friday afternoon, the news broke of the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers discussing a trade in which Philly would acquire Boston's No. 1 pick in next Thursday's NBA draft. In return, the Celtics would take Philadelphia's No. 3 pick, and acquire future picks as well. As of Friday evening, the deal isn't done, but according to reports, it's trending that way.

How does this affect Hayward?

Most Jazz fans know the Celtics are a threat to steal the star small forward from the Jazz once he hits unrestricted free agency on July 1. There are several ways this can go for the Celtics. The trade gives them more cap space to pursue Hayward, and gives them assets moving forward. If the trade goes through, there's little downside there.




Boston can also use those assets and flip them in a potential deal for Chicago's Jimmy Butler. In doing so, the Celtics can dangle the option of playing with another bona fide wing in front of Hayward, along with roster upside.

None of that matters, however. At this point, if Hayward wants to stay in Utah with the Jazz, what Boston does makes little difference. Yes, the Celtics have a terrific roster with upside, a terrific head coach and a terrific front office.

Guess what? The Utah Jazz have the same things.

If Hayward leaves, it's not because the grass is greener elsewhere (pun not intended). If Hayward leaves, it's because he simply no longer wants to play for the Jazz.

The Jazz have the ability to win 55 games next season, and contend for a top-three seed in the Western Conference. The Celtics would certainly be a top-three team in the Eastern Conference. But the Jazz and Celtics would still be looking up to the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Every day until Hayward announces his intentions will be nerve-wracking for Jazz fans, and rightfully so. But, the decision rests with Hayward.

There's no wrong choice. But there's also no place he can go that puts him closer to an NBA title than he already is with the Jazz.

tjones@sltrib.com

@tribjazz

 

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