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Celtics may pine for Gordon Hayward, but don’t expect the Jazz to give up easily

Back in November 2013, before what was just the fifth game of Celtics coach Brad Stevens’ NBA career, Utah’s Gordon Hayward stepped out of the visiting locker room at TD Garden and addressed the media scrum in the hallway where coaches typically speak. It is a rare thing, a visiting player being given a prominent pregame interview spot, but the Stevens-Hayward relationship—Hayward, of course, anchored Stevens’ best teams at Butler—had garnered significant interest, so the extra room was created for Hayward.

From that seed grew the legend of the Celtics and Hayward. At the time, Hayward was just days beyond failing to sign a contract extension with the Jazz, setting him up for restricted free agency and possibly paving the way for an offer from Boston. It all just seemed so natural. Of course Hayward—a young tennis player plucked from relative recruiting obscurity years earlier by Stevens, who nurtured him into a star for the Bulldogs—would eventually rejoin Stevens on the NBA level. He simply had to, right?

This appears to be a shot taken directly at 76ers’ Joel Embiid who has sent plenty of funny tweets in an effort to be named an All-Star. He also posted a photo on Instagram with Whiteside in it with the location as “BBQ Chicken,” so there’s some reason for hostility on Whiteside’s part.

But Whiteside does make a point when he added, “People are going to vote for who they like. It’s more of a popularity thing.”

That couldn’t be clearer considering Zaza Pachulia has more All-Star votes than DeMarcus Cousins and Chris Paul combined. Nothing against Pachulia, he’s a fine player, but his 5.6 points per game don’t exactly NFL Jerseys Wholesale scream All-Star caliber player. His votes are mostly coming in from his home country of Georgia.

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