Despite several hours of confusion on social media, Tuesday ended with the news that Utah Jazz star Gordon Hayward will indeed sign with the Boston Celtics for a maximum contract of $128 million over the next four years. According to Mark Bartelstein, Hayward’s agent, he said that Hayward had to deny early reports that he had signed with the Celtics because he was still undecided at the time. Initially, Hayward had planned to inform NBA teams of his decision and then publish an article on The Players’ Tribune to make his decision public. This led to speculation that what actually happened was that Hayward had made his decision but didn’t want to publicize it until his article was ready. Bartelstein called those allegations “complete nonsense”.
A smaller effect of the Hayward confusion is what will happen to the political career of Tanner Ainge, the son of Celtics general manager Danny Ainge. Tanner Ainge is running for the Congressional seat of Jason Chaffetz in Utah. Because of the negative reaction by Jazz fans to Hayward’s decision, it is believed that Tanner Ainge’s chances at winning the candidacy are slightly diminished.
Tanner Ainge's odds of becoming the next congressman from Utah are now worse than Utah Jazz playoff odds. #utpol
— Bryan Duncan (@EyeOnUtah) July 5, 2017
Currently, the Celtics do not have enough room in their salary cap to sign Hayward to a maximum contract, which is why they are expected to trade some of their key players in an effort to free up the necessary cash. Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley appear to be the main candidates to be traded away. Crowder plays the same position, small forward, as Hayward, 2016 draft pick Jaylen Brown and 2017 draft pick Jayson Tatum, so he is the odd man out there. Bradley and Smart, meanwhile, are in the final year of their contracts. According to ESPN, six teams have already been contacted by the Celtics about acquiring players. Kelly Olynyk has already been released by the Celtics as part of these salary maneuvers.