After seven seasons in Utah, this summer’s biggest free agent Gordon Hayward has left the Jazz for Boston.
The All-Star announced Tuesday (via a The Players’ Tribune piece called “Thank You, Utah”) that he has agreed to a four-year, $128 million max contract with the Boston Celtics, in a deal that also includes a player option for the final year.
According to Hayward, his past relationship with former college coach, Brad Stevens, was a deciding factor in his decision to join the Celtics. Stevens took over as coach before the 2013-14 season and led Boston to 53 wins last season.
During his final year at Butler, Hayward led the Bulldogs to the national championship game, which they lost. “That unfinished business [Stevens and Hayward] had together, back in 2010, when I left Butler for the NBA,” Hayward wrote. “… as far as I’m concerned, all of these years later, we still have it… And that’s to win a championship.”
Though both sides are in agreement, Boston needs to make some moves to clear the necessary cap space to sign Hayward.
They have reportedly pulled their qualifying offer to Kelly Olynyk, making him an unrestricted free agent. They must also renounce veteran free agents Jonas Jerebko, James Young and Gerald Green, and then waive the nonguaranteed contract of Jordan Mickey. There’s also another partially nonguaranteed deal in second-year point guard Demetrius Jackson, who they could be waive or trade.
One last rotation player needs to be moved as well — Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Terry Rozier or Marcus Smart?