Gordon Hayward. What we saw, but didn’t quite “see”.

Proudly, I was raised a Jazz fan, through the Stockton & Malone era (as a Jazz fan, I couldn’t be happier knowing I was able to see them live, and yell at the T.V. for that era).  I have seen probably the worst, the middle, and the best we have had as a franchise in Utah.  For those “worst” years, it’s teeth grindingly brutal.  How sports can impact our attitude and feelings is something I fail to understand.  It’s one of the things in our life that is so far out of our control, yet, it impacts us (maybe just me?) in ways we (I) can’t seem to control.  Feelings, attitude, our spending, agenda, if you “sports”, your schedule sometimes revolves around your team’s schedule.  We love our sports, we love our team, we learn to love our players.

Weeks leading up to this past week, I was a fairly confident Jazz fan, under the impression that Gordon was staying, and we would continue doing what we set out to do last season…bring the championship, finally, to Utah.  On July 4th, one of my personal favorite holidays (being a July 1st birthday, Independence Day immediately becomes your favorite) was side swiped, and to put it lightly, blind sided and drug out.

Leading up to this past week, unfortunately, the writing was on the wall, but we failed to see and read it.  Gordon & family gave us countless signs.  Call it as you will, maybe you see it differently, but they had plugged the idea that Utah just may not be on their radar for the 2017-2018 season.  How so, you ask?  Let’s take a look.

Example 1)

Those #stayward billboards.  Remember when Garrett Jones started the gofundme.com for these??  #stayward

Hayward interview  <— Hayward’s interview after hearing of #stayward billboard idea

Donate $ to charity, no billboard <— And here’s his noble response to the campaign.  Great move on his part to donate to an amazing cause.  As far as his future here though.. reading between the lines, was his mind already leaning to Boston?

Example 2)

The infamous social media photo of the Hayward daughter dawning the clover shirt…In June.

Future Boston supporter?

What’s with the green heart?!

Now, obviously, this is a stretch, since it’s an article of clothing, and it was from St. Patrick’s Day.  Robyn, but why did you delete it?  You know it’s the internet.

Example 3)

Boston chants Hayward’s name

Look passed the “racist” remarks by Jae Crowder.  Boston knew Hayward’s contract was nearly up.  Boston knew Hayward had ties to Stevens (we’ll touch on that here in a moment), and Boston knows, they always know, when they are nipping on the heels of bringing another championship home.  Their city has been blessed with NUMEROUS championships, whether it be hockey, baseball, or football.  They have a reputation for winning, and you can’t argue with that.  The feeling Crowder must of had, hearing the crowd chant a player from the visiting team, must have really got under his skin I’m sure, but I find it hard to believe the idea of it being tied to “racism”.  Isaiah Thomas? Ortiz?  Blount?  Butler?  Mookie?  Are any of them ever booed at games?

Come on man.

Look, I’m not trying to sway anyone from side to side, but I truly think this “decision” was made long before we knew, and probably long before Gordon truly knew.

Actually, here.  Want some sad Jazz fan reading?  Want your perspective on this from the Jazz brass?  Here’s what the Miller’s, Dennis, and Snyder went through these last few days.

Inside the Hayward deal

Ah yes, and the Stevens/Hayward past?  Was Danny Ainge looking for this reunion for the two?  Stevens was Hayward’s old coach at Butler, who from the beginning, was there for Gordon.  I get it.  The man who first saw you up and coming, could see the potential, could see the desire, witnessed the passion first hand and saw all the hard work, day in, day out, before the NBA happened.  I get it, we see it.  We understand Gordon.

Stevens/Hayward reunited

But why, why, was the exit so brutal?  I wouldn’t have guessed, after meeting this guy a few years ago in an Albertson’s (AFresh Market?), that this would be the guy who would create such an emotional roller coaster for Jazz fans on July 4, 2017.  He fit our game plan, he was a perfect role model, he grew to be our all-star, and he was the face of our club.  To drag the exit out, possibly delaying Utah the chance to make other free agent moves, this was cold man.  That Player’s Tribune article, that was heartbreaking.  Lots of time spent on that, and hopefully it wasn’t spent during the hours of the “leaked” exit rumor.  Haven’t read it?  Oh man…read below.

Hayward’s Player’s Tribune article

meandbetrayward

In closing, tough deal anyway you look at it from a Jazz fan.  Did we lose time to land potential free agents to fill the gaps?  Did we do all we could to keep Gordon on the team?  No matter what Utah did, was there truly any way to actually keep him here?  Maybe we won’t ever know?

For now, as Jazz fans, we accept it, love it or hate it, and look to the future.  If you haven’t caught any footage of our boy Donovan Mitchell in the summer league…

Mitchell’s bright Utah future

Let’s not forget about Rudy…

Gobzilla highlights

Fellow Jazz fans, we’re going to be ok.  Boston just acquired an incredible player in Hayward.  But, we have a young core of talented players, and our future sure is bright.  #takenote

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Author: UTAHBEARDEDRUNNER

I'm 30 years young, father of two dogs that run the house. I enjoy all the little things in life, like running, snowboarding, reading, yard work, camping, hiking, & binge watching The Office on Netflix.

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