Gordon Hayward Made His Actual Free Agency Decision And Will Indeed Join The Celtics

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After his agent denied initial reports that he was headed to Boston on Tuesday, Gordon Hayward has reportedly made his actual, final decision to leave the Jazz and join the Celtics. Hayward announced his decision on The Players’ Tribune.

In the post titled Thank You, Utah, Hayward thanked the people of Salt Lake City for how they helped him grow as an athlete and a person during his time with the Jazz.

“And then I just think of the people of Utah, in general,” Hayward wrote. “They say that Salt Lake is a great place to raise a family — and I know that sounds like something people just say. But you spend enough time here … and you realize that it’s true. And for me, as far as that goes — I feel like I’m indebted to Salt Lake, twice over. Because not only has this been the city where I’ve started my family, and not only has this been the city that’s helped raise my daughters for the last couple of years … but long before that, during my first few years in the league — I also feel like this city helped raise me. And I feel like this city took me in, as part of its own family.”

Shams Charania of The Vertical brought word of the terms of Hayward’s deal. He’ll sign with Boston on a four-year contract with a player option. Should he play out his deal, Hayward is set to make $128 million.

Hayward joins a Celtics team that won 53 games in 2016-17 and earned the top seed in the East, but failed to compete with the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Boston will hope that Hayward will be able to give them a greater presence on the wing and another player that can create his own offense to help Isaiah Thomas on that end. With Hayward, the Celtics reassert their standing as the Cavs’ top competition in the East and certainly closed the gap some with Cleveland.

While it’s great news for Boston, it’s a devastating decision for the Jazz, who were reaching new heights after years of adding assets and building an good, young roster. Utah traded for Ricky Rubio prior to free agency in an effort to convince Hayward that they were doing everything possible to keep improving, but it wasn’t enough. Now, with so many other teams in the Western Conference making marked improvements this offseason, the Jazz, without their top star, are in perilous danger of falling out of the playoffs in 2017-18 a year after earning the No. 5 seed.