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Sunday, 16 July 2017 04:38

Why Gordon Hayward Sounds Like the Perfect Fit w/ Boston Celtics

Written by 
Mike Petraglia of the CLNS Media Network on Gordon Hayward Joining the Boston Celtics

Some might find it a little quirky that Gordon Hayward didn't travel from his San Diego home to Boston for an in-person press conference on Friday.

Instead, according to Danny Ainge, there's a very good chance that the next time Hayward appears in his new NBA home will be right around the time players report for training camp.

Ainge handled the media availability from a make-shift press area in the corner of Boston Sports Club in Waltham, just above the Celtics practice court. That's because the Celtics practice court was being used for a kids basketball camp.

But that's all window dressing at this point.

Listening to Hayward on his media call Friday afternoon one gets the sense that he's more than comfortable with what's ahead of him. Every Celtics diehard fan expects him to help lead the core that Ainge has assembled to the NBA Finals in 2018. He went even further. Asked if winning the championship next season was something discussed during or after the recruiting process, he didn't hesitate.

"For sure, that is our goal," Hayward said. "That is something that I’m working right now so I can be a better player to help the Boston Celtics get that accomplished. It’s something that I for sure think is attainable for us. I think there is a lot of work for us to do, but it is what we’re striving for and I couldn’t be more excited about that."



Perfect. Hayward is off to a great start.

Most of those same fans are hoping that Hayward will be unfazed and unaffected by his first max contract, paying him $128 million over four years. Boston fans have seen players like Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Pablo Sandoval and David Price get overwhelmed with playing in Boston and the expectations that come with big contracts. rewarded with huge Hayward expressed his humility in his first address with the Boston media, something that should make fans forget the aforementioned Red Sox players.

Ironically, it was Hayward's trip to Boston and Fenway Park on July 2 that made the biggest impression and helped convince him to sign with the Celtics.

"We get to Boston and it’s late at night and my wife and I are greeted by Brad and Coach (Micah) Shrewsberry," Hayward said. "It’s immediate familiarity and comfort and it brought back memories of when I was being recruited in high school by Coach Brad. It started out like that and that was just a really cool feeling to be doing it over again, this time at the next level. I’m not a huge baseball guy, but the fact that we were able to go into Fenway which is just a legendary ballpark and they had the really cool video.

"Isaiah was there, Al Horford was there, that meant a lot to me that they took time out of their schedules, the offseason for us guys is precious time, so for them to show up was really cool for me. The meetings, getting a chance to meet the owner, then talk with Brad about where I fit in, how they can use me, how I can be a better player. The different steps to take to win a championship. Those kinds of things really stood out to me."

Which again brings us to playing in Boston. Hayward will be joining the likes of Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Chris Sale, Hanley Ramirez and his own teammates Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas. Every time those players show up somewhere, they're the focal point, on and off the playing field.

Will Hayward be able to handle the heat?

"The city of Boston, it’s just a different feeling when you’re in the city, it’s a sports-brazed down. It was a special day for sure," Hayward said of the July 2 trip. "I’m blown away with the presentation and everything about the Boston Celtics. Turn around and fly all the way back to San Diego and meet with the Jazz. After meeting with them there was a feeling of how could I ever leave the Jazz. Then you take about 24 hours and try to take some of the emotion out of the decision.

"I think after talking with (agent) Mark (Bartelstein) and my wife and thinking it over, there was just something different about Boston and different about being a Celtic," Hayward said of his agent It was just a special feeling when talking about being a Boston Celtic, and that ultimately won me over and I decided to join the Boston Celtics."

Hayward hasn't even tried on his new No. 20, replacing Ray Allen, and already he sounds like the perfect fit in Boston. Time will tell.

Celtics Beat

The best Boston Celtics podcast on the web, Celtics Beat is released every Sunday, 52 weeks of the year - with no exceptions.  Bonus episodes also come available to the audience when necessary.

Larry H. Russell provides some of the most insightful analysis on all things Boston Celtics and the NBA. And no other podcast covering the Celtics on the web delivers some of the most well-known and respected personalities both in and outside the NBA as Celtics Beat does. And oh yeah, it's all in 60 minutes.

New episodes are available for download every Sunday at iTunes and Stitcher.  Episodes are also available OnDemand at http://www.clnsradio.com
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