(KUTV) Gordon Hayward is leaving Utah to become a Boston Celtic.
After a drama-filled Fourth of July holiday, where his name was a trending topic on Twitter and the lead item of radio and television broadcasts around the NBA world, he tweeted his decision to head to Boston with a "thank you" to Utah and posted a long blog entry on ThePlayersTribune.com.
After an apology for the story being leaked before he had a chance to announce the decision, Hayward stated his intentions.
After seven years in Utah, I have decided to join the Boston Celtics.
"I know that will be tough to hear for Jazz fans — and I really want you all to know that you mean the world to me and my family. Over the past few days, I’ve been genuinely torn. And I know that this process isn’t easy on the fans, either. So I just want to be as straight-up as possible about why I’m coming to Boston," he wrote.
Earlier on Tuesday, news broke that Hayward had decided to become a Celtic. The news leak was said to be stressful to Hayward and his agent told multiple media outlets that he had not made a decision yet. Hours later, he made it official.
Reports say he will earn $128 million in a four-year deal with the Celtics. He will be a free agent again when that contract expires. The fourth year is said to be a player option, leaving him room to leave after three years.
The Jazz traded for pass-first point guard Ricky Rubio and signed Joe Ingles, one of Hayward's closest friends in the NBA, during the league's free-agent period, some said in an effort to keep Hayward.
The Celtics met with Hayward Sunday and have won 17 championships and featured some of his favorite players, also mentioned in his blog.
"There was the special history of the Celtics, as a franchise — from Russell, to Bird, to Pierce, and it goes on," he said.
Hayward praised Utah and the Utah Jazz organization, bringing up a lot of memories of his seven seasons.
"I was literally the last Jazz player left who played under Coach Sloan — and I always took that as a lot more than just some piece of trivia. That was something that truly made me feel like a part of the fabric of this franchise. And that fabric is something that has meant a lot to me, ever since," he wrote.
He also wrote about his decision as a college player to head to the NBA instead of stay at Butler where current Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was his college coach.
Hayward spent much of his blog post remembering key moments in his Jazz history but concluded by stating that he is heading to Boston to win an NBA title, speaking of unfinished business he has with Stevens.
And that unfinished business we had together, back in 2010, when I left Butler for the NBA … as far as I’m concerned, all of these years later, we still have it:
And that’s to win a championship.
The Jazz have not commented. With Hayward Utah was a playoff team and beat the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs before losing in four games to eventual champion Golden State.
The Utah Jazz issued the following statements in a press release:
Gail Miller, Chairman of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies
“Gordon has been an important part of our Jazz family for the past seven years. While disappointed that he is moving on, we thank him for his contributions to the organization and wish Gordon, Robyn and their family well. We thank him for his play, his leadership and how well he represented the Jazz and the state of Utah.”
Steve Starks, President, Utah Jazz and Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment
“The Jazz made a compelling case for Gordon to stay and managed the process well. A foundation for success has been established here, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to bring a championship to Utah. From our renovated facilities to our dedicated ownership, we are building a winning culture that will make Jazz fans proud.”
Dennis Lindsey, General Manager, Utah Jazz
“We are proud of the player that Gordon developed into with the Jazz, and wish him and his family the best of luck. Despite his departure, we still have a tremendous coaching staff and very good young core of players in place as we move forward.”