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SALT LAKE CITY — In the end, #Stayward wasn't enough.
After seven years with the Utah Jazz, All-Star small forward Gordon Hayward is signing with the Boston Celtics. Hayward broke the news to fans with an article written on The Players' Tribune.
The official article from Hayward came after an interesting Tuesday afternoon for Jazz fans. ESPN's Chris Haynes reported early Tuesday afternoon that Hayward was set to sign with the Boston Celtics.
Free-agent Gordon Hayward plans to sign with the Boston Celtics, league sources tell ESPN. — Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 4, 2017
Then, multiple reporters confirmed Haynes' report. However, a few minutes later, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Jazz had not yet heard from Hayward, and furthermore, Hayward's agent, Mark Bartelstein, said that Hayward had not yet made a decision.
Gordon Hayward's agent, Mark Bartelstein, tells ESPN: "Gordon hasn't made a decision yet. We are still working through it." — Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 4, 2017
But the earlier reports were confirmed as true when Hayward's post went on The Players' Tribune website, posted by his own social media team.
"As you can see, it’s taken me a while, and thanks to everyone for their patience," Hayward said in the article.
Hayward has improved his scoring averages in every year of his career, culminating in an All-Star nod last year thanks to efficient 21.9 points per game last season. He credited Jazz coach Quin Snyder for that improvement, saying, "There’s a lot of people I have to thank for where I am today as a basketball player, but honestly none more than Coach Snyder."
He'll bring that efficiency to the Celtics, around a core of including Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford that made it to the Eastern Conference championship round in 2017.
Meanwhile, it's a devastating blow for a franchise that had just made its first playoffs since 2012, and earned a win over the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round. But without Hayward, the team doesn't have a reliable first-rate offensive scoring option on the roster at this point during the offseason.
Jazz fans, trying to keep the star in Utah, began a multi-media campaign for Hayward, paying for billboards around Salt Lake City and creating a fan-made video noting his contributions to the Jazz. But Hayward chose to continue his career in Boston after a lengthy pitch delivered this weekend.
There won't be any infamous "Comic Sans" letters from Jazz brass to Hayward, as there were from the Cleveland Cavaliers to LeBron James when he left that organization in 2010. Jazz owner Gail Miller, president Steve Starks, and general manager Dennis Lindsey all delivered positive, thankful statements to Hayward after his departure.
Jazz release three statements on Gordon Hayward's departure. pic.twitter.com/bERcR0pHcD — Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) July 5, 2017