The Boston Celtics are seen as a legitimate contender for the first time in the post-KG era this season. What shifted the Celtics from a fun overachieving team with a low ceiling to a likely favorite to make the Eastern Conference Finals was the acquisition of Al Horford over the summer. Horford is a great player, but he is not the superstar acquisition that truly makes the difference for the Celtics.
Instead, the real gamechanger for the Celtics happened a few years ago when they brought 0n former Butler coach Brad Stevens to lead them into a new era of basketball. When we look back, this won’t be remembered as the “Al Horford Era,” it will be remembered as “The Brad Stevens Era.” Horford probably wouldn’t have ever signed with the Celtics if it wasn’t for Stevens anyway.
Now, the Celtics are looking to make the move that will really put the Brad Stevens Era over the top.
Hayward is 26, in the meat of his prime, killing it at the thinnest position in the league. Utah waited for Charlotte to max him out last time around, and Hayward has a long memory.
“His beloved college coach runs a rising team with an easy roadmap to max cap space — and real interest in Hayward, per several league sources.”
— Zach Lowe via ESPN
Hayward and Stevens came inches away from winning a miraculous college championship in their time together at Butler, and it makes sense that they would want to reunite to get the job done in the NBA. Hayward would be a great fit in the Celtics system, and a core of Horford, Hayward, and Isaiah Thomas could contend for many years to come.
This should be taken with a grain of salt though, considering this nugget of information comes within the prediction that Hayward will resign with the Utah Jazz. Everyone is expecting the Jazz to be pretty good this year, myself included. If they are, Hayward will probably stick it out in Utah.
But, if the Jazz stay healthy and still can’t field a playoff team, maybe Hayward will be looking for a way out.