Gordon Hayward met Isaiah Thomas at Fenway Park in July fully expecting the All-Star point guard to be in Boston come opening day on Oct. 17 when the Celtics meet the Cleveland Cavaliers. About a month after agreeing to a deal with the Celtics, Hayward finds himself in a “peculiar” position, as Cavaliers forward Kevin Love would likely call it.
On Tuesday afternoon, Boston traded Thomas, Jae Crowder, rookie Ante Zizic and an unprotected first-round pick to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving, leaving Hayward with a team that looks wholly different than the one he signed with as a free agent.
The blockbuster trade could have repercussions for Hayward and the Utah Jazz.
What it could mean for Hayward in Boston
In his farewell letter to the Jazz, Hayward penned his desire to win a championship in Boston alongside his former college coach Brad Stevens. One could argue that Irving is a better all-around point guard than Thomas. Three years younger than Thomas, Irving has yet to reach his full potential and has become accustomed to playing in the NBA Finals annually.
But to really contend, it takes more than just a couple of household names. Teams with depth are the ones that usually withstand the drudgery of an 82-game season.
In a perimeter-oriented league, it’s impossible to win without reliable wing players. Prior to this summer’s shakeup, the Celtics had arguably the deepest wing rotation in the league, with All-NBA level defenders Avery Bradley and Crowder anchoring the team.
Bradley, who the Celtics traded to the Detroit Pistons to clear cap space for Hayward, and Crowder were the team’s identity, even though they rarely led Boston in scoring or made the late-night highlight reels.
Boston is left with an unproven talent in Jaylen Brown and rookie Jayson Tatum, who projects to be a quality player, but at 19 years old might not be ready to start.
The load for Irving, Hayward and Al Horford, who Thomas helped convince to sign with the Celtics last year, just got a lot heavier. The identity of the team is much murkier than it was even after Bradley was dealt to Detroit. Boston won’t have issues scoring points, but stopping opposing teams from doing so will be an obstacle.
Defense, as the old adage goes, wins championships. Boston lost two of its best defenders this offseason and a future draft pick that will likely end up being in the top five.
Neither Hayward nor Irving are known for their defense. And this season, the Celtics won’t be able to fall back on their junkyard dogs. It will be up to their stars to somehow fill the void.
What the trade means for Utah
Almost immediately after Hayward announced his decision to join the Celtics, Jazz center Rudy Gobert shared a video of himself grooving in his car. Gobert is the NBA’s king of displaying saltiness on social media. So when the Irving for Thomas trade was reported, Gobert dug deep and found one of Thomas’ old tweets recruiting Hayward to Boston.
Rudy Gobert just retweeted Isaiah Thomas' tweet recruiting Hayward to Boston.
The NBA is the greatest league in the planet. Period. pic.twitter.com/j3Fmd08BG5— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) August 23, 2017
Gobert’s feelings are probably shared by a ton of Utahns. It’s natural to have hurt feelings after getting spurned. The trade could be looked at as an evil moral victory for Jazz fans, especially if the Celtics don’t improve following the deal.
But for the organization, it’s pretty obvious: Irving won’t be playing for the Jazz this season or anytime soon.
Utah had interest in acquiring Irving from Cleveland before the draft in June, but didn’t have the assets. Thomas is an All-Star, Crowder is an above-average role player, and the first-round pick is expected to be in the high lottery since it was originally Brooklyn’s.
Cleveland is set up to win now and in the future with the assets obtained. Utah simply didn’t have what it took to get Irving, and really, it’s questionable if it would’ve even been worth it had the team possessed such pieces.
Source : http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865687317/What-the-Kyrie-Irving-trade-means-for-Gordon-Hayward-and-the-Utah-Jazz.html