SALT LAKE CITY – Basketball all-star Gordon Hayward has officially announced his departure from the Utah Jazz.
According to the statement from Hayward, he met with Miami, Boston and Utah claiming, “They couldn’t have been more impressive. Each meeting left me convinced that the team I’d just met with was the right fit.”
But after long days of deliberation he has finally determined, “After seven years in Utah, I have decided to join the Boston Celtics.”
According to Hayward the driving force behind the team change, besides Boston city’s “winning culture” and the “amazing potential of this current Celtics roster, as a team” was his long time relationship with Coach Stevens.
Coach Stevens is the Boston Celtics’ current head coach but served as the head coach at Butler University when Hayward played there.
“Coach Stevens was so great about it, all of it. He helped me lay out my options, and talked it through from both sides … but in the end, when I needed it, he also gave me my space… I declared for the draft, and got drafted, and started my new NBA life in Utah. But it always meant a lot to me, to know how, in that moment, even with our lives at this strange crossroads together, Coach Stevens was someone I could count on.”
Hayward says what made the decision for him wasn’t the relationship they had built together off the court, but it was the unfinished business they started in Indiana, to win a championship.
Despite the move Hayward says he will always cherish the time he spent here in Salt Lake City.
“I just think about how far I’ve come during my time here. I’ve truly grown up in Salt Lake. I’ve become a man, and I’ve become a professional. I’ve gone from being a kid … to now having a wife and two kids. I’ve gone from having anxiety over leaving my family … to now having a family of my own. A lot has happened to me during my time here, and I honestly can’t think of any part of it that I haven’t cherished. This is a special place, and I know that the impression it’s made on me will long outlast the impression I’ve made on it.”
For Hayward’s full statement click here.
UPDATE: Utah Jazz officials have released several statements regarding Hayward’s leaving.
Gail Miller, the 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, the Utah Jazz and Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment President:
“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, the Utah Jazz General Manager:
“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.”
Head Coach Quin Snyder released a letter regarding Hayward Wednesday:
“Since my arrival to Utah, Gordon gave his best every day we were together. I can’t say enough about his professionalism day in and day out. He is a unique competitor and I am thankful for the opportunity to have coached him over the last three seasons. Speaking on behalf of my staff, we are very proud of his growth and development as a player into an NBA All-Star, and are also appreciative of his contributions. Gordon’s progression epitomizes the partnership that we believe is the cornerstone of our player development emphasis and philosophy.
I believe this was a difficult decision for Gordon and Robyn and their young family, and one they reached earnestly. While their extended Jazz family is disappointed to see them leave, we wish them happiness and success in their future and understand that they chose a path they felt was the right one for them.
Certainly we will miss Gordon and his many contributions to our team, but I always tell our players that ‘adversity is opportunity in disguise.’ This is one of those moments and we need to live those words. We have a roster of young, talented and resilient players. I am confident that together we will accept this challenge while continuing to strive toward our goal of individual and collective improvement.
To further lament Gordon’s departure does not honor the commitment we have to our current players. Therefore, I would like to personally wish Gordon well as he and his family move on with his career. As we move forward, we’ll continue to focus our attention on the place it is most needed and wanted, our players and the entirety of the Jazz organization.”