NBA

Gordon Hayward.

Report: Boston Celtics have another serious contender in Gordon Hayward pursuit

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By not being named to an All-NBA team this year, Gordon Hayward can't receive a super-max contract offer from the Utah Jazz, the team with which he's spent his entire seven-year career so far.

That, understandably, has led to some speculation that the star forward will decide to move on to a new team, and the Boston Celtics would love to have him for the 2017-18 season.

Hayward's college coach, Brad Stevens, is now the head coach in Boston and the two still have a close relationship, so it seems to be a good fit for the talented player.

However, ESPN reporter Marc Stein says not so fast. Stein tweeted on Saturday that the Jazz and Celtics have another strong contender for Hayward's services - the Miami Heat:

As we learned when team president Pat Riley and the Heat swooped in and landed LeBron James when he left Cleveland prior to the 2010-11 season, it's never wise to count Miami out on a big-name free agent.

Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz - Game Three

The Heat were one of the best teams in the NBA in the second half of last season, winning 30 of their last 41 games. However, they still missed out on the playoffs because they were one of the worst teams in the first half of the year, losing 30 of their 41 games.

With Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and other talented young players in the mix, Miami would be an enticing option for Hayward, but if he wants to win now, the Celtics seem to be a better fit.

Boston has superstar point guard Isaiah Thomas running the show and complementary pieces like Avery Bradley and Al Horford surrounding him. The Celtics also hold the No. 1 pick in this month's NBA Draft, which they are expected to use on star guard Markelle Fultz.

Utah Jazz v Golden State Warriors - Game One

Adding Hayward to a team that finished the 2016-17 regular season as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference (ahead of even LeBron and the Cavaliers), would seemingly make the Celtics a title contender in 2018.

The Jazz, of course, will do everything they can to keep their homegrown star, as general manager Dennis Lindsey recently told The Salt Lake Tribune:

"It goes without saying that every fiber of our collective being, the soul of the Utah Jazz, wants him back," Lindsey said. "We think it's a great fit."

Wherever Hayward ends up, that team will be better for it. In his seven NBA seasons, Hayward has averaged 15.7 points (and a career-high 21.9 points this season), 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.

Topics:
Gordon Hayward
Utah Jazz
Northwest Division
Western Conference
NBA
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
Miami Heat
Southeast Division
NBA Playoffs

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