Hayward signs for the Celtics
The oft speculated free agent move of Gordon Hayward from the Utah Jazz to the Boston Celtics finally became reality on Tuesday.
The former Butler star has made his decision to head East and will join his former college coach Brad Stevens in Boston.
The move has been speculated for a number of years, but the small forward took his time, relevant to other free agent decisions, looking at both the Jazz and the Miami Heat before deciding to take the four-year offer from the Celtics.
Hayward and third overall Draft pick Jayson Tatum are added to a Boston side, it should not be forgotten, that actually was the top seed in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs before falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference Finals.
The Celtics also have the Brooklyn Nets unprotected first round pick next season and Hayward's signing now makes Boston one of the big winners of the off-season.
The Celtics are 8/1 to win the NBA title next year.
The Jazz are therefore left without their superstar, but with an excellent young side nonetheless.
Rookie selection Donovan Mitchell already is giving the impression that a number of teams may have missed selecting him late in the top 10 and should Dante Exum take a step forward, it will not be doom and gloom.
Utah, however, may struggle to make the playoffs in a stunningly stacked Western Conference and their challenge remains to be able to attract a top free agent to Salt Lake City.
The Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs are the clear leaders in the Conference with the Oklahoma City next after the addition of Paul George.
After that it gets murky with the Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers, all playoff teams last season, expected to be challenged by the Denver Nuggets, the Minnesota Timberwolves and possibly the Los Angeles Lakers.
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