Gordon Hayward was likely trying to endear himself to his new fan base.
But he may have infuriated his old one in doing so.
In a Friday press conference held for Hayward and Kyrie Irving — who the Boston Celtics officially traded for this week — Hayward was asked what he liked about his new team and new town.
“What’s special about here is it seems they are especially educated sports fans. They know a little more here.”
One should give Hayward, who played for the Jazz for seven seasons before he departed as a free agent this summer, the benefit of the doubt. He’s always spoken highly of Utah fans, and has always had a good relationship with them, well, until his messy free agency exit. And Hayward’s comment contains significant truth. Celtics fans are historically among the most knowledgeable in the NBA.
At the same time, it’s not difficult to see how Jazz fans could be offended.
Like Boston fans, Utah fans are very knowledgeable about basketball and the NBA. More importantly, Jazz fans are trying to move on from Hayward, and little comments such as those on Friday — however intended — probably don’t help in that process.
It’s only September, but Hayward’s return to Utah in March is becoming more anticipated by the press conference.