Gordon Hayward has decided to leave the Boston Celtics for a richer contract offer with the Charlotte Hornets this offseason signing for $ 120 million over four seasons. Hayward said he has “no will” towards the Celtics after three seasons marked by injuries and uneven play.
“Tough decisions have certainly been made,” Hayward said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday. “There’s no ill will on my part from anyone in the Boston organization, the players. I had an amazing time in Boston and I think it’s unfortunate what happened, I obviously had an abnormal injury when I arrived. a lot of things that were a bit out of my control when I was in Boston. But I had a great time there and I still have a good relationship with the people there and some players there. And my teammates and coaches, my wife and I had built relationships with members of the community we live in and to this day we talk to them… there is no ill will on my side and I have absolutely loved my stay in Boston.
“I certainly couldn’t be more excited about where I am now. And I can’t wait to see this next chapter. ”
Hayward was surprised at how quickly he left the Celtics and arrived with the Hornets.
“Honestly, when you’re in the bubble, I was focused on the task at hand,” Hayward said. “I missed my family, my wife was about to give birth, there was actually a lot going on – free will was not even on my mind at all. And then when I’m injured, I just try to improve as fast as possible so that I can try to come back and see what I can do to try and help us. So I certainly didn’t think it might be the last go-around at all. I’m just thinking about the circumstances of the bubble and the current situation in the NBA, and where the world is at with COVID, it was unlike any other circumstance. ”
Mitch Kupchak believes Hayward can become an All-Star player again.
“I still think he can make an All-Star team,” Kupchak said. “He’s 30, and I think that might not be a fair comparison, but I think Jimmy Butler was 31 when Miami brought him on board and I think Jimmy had a pretty good year. . I think the best years for an NBA player, when their mind catches up with their body between 28 and 32 years old. So I think he still has at least two solid years, maybe three really solid years where he can play at a high level. Now whether he makes the All-Star team or not, I don’t know. Do we need him for an average of 25 or 27 points for this team? No, we don’t need that. We need stability in the locker room. We need what he brings us to this position. Not only to score but to facilitate an attack. And what does that mean? I don’t know, 17 points, 19 points, 6 rebounds? I do not know. But to add a player like that to this young group, we just felt it was a move in the right direction. ”