At 2:17 p.m. Tuesday, ESPN reporter Chris Haynes, who has been with the Worldwide Leader for about a year and primarily covers the Golden State Warriors, tweeted that Gordon Hayward would be joining the Boston Celtics. It made sense. Shortly before, a tweet circulated that showed Hayward’s trainer had recently followed the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown on Instagram. Another reporter, Michael Pina, warned the world that a decision was imminent. The Butler reunion of Hayward and Brad Stevens has been anticipated since the trade deadline, at least.
Many NBA personages took Haynes’s report to be true. Daryl Morey tweeted to congratulate his old colleagues. New Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio sent out a sad face. The Ringer dropped a premade graphic of Gordo in a Celtics jersey. This was the July Fourth decision that the NBA community awaited, and now we could all move on to focusing on burgers, brats, and beers. But then everything got wonky. There will be no need for fireworks this July Fourth because NBA Twitter already popped off.
We should have known this was not done because prince of 2017 NBA Free-Agency Shams Charania never weighed in. Adrian Wojnarowski, now of ESPN and formerly of Yahoo, chimed in contradicting his new colleague, explaining the Jazz were still waiting to be told of Hayward’s decision. Then Sam Amick of USA Today and David Aldridge of NBA.com sent corroborating reports saying no final decision had been made nor had any of the teams — Boston, Miami, and Utah — been informed. And most importantly, Miami Heat recruiter and center Hassan Whiteside implored us all to stay woke.
Finally, a Hayward proxy chimed in. His agent, Mark Bartelstein, said they had hoped to reach a decision today, but now they need to "regroup." Cool. NBA heads will spend the rest of the barbecue (or, depending on your region, your grill-out) locked in to Twitter, waiting for a follow-up. At time of publication, Gordon Hayward’s personal website (where he posts his updates about the NBA and video games) redirected to his Facebook page. When that is back up, perhaps there will be resolution.
The winner here, though, is the NBA. July Fourth weekend has become the league’s without any televised events. ESPN began with a special episode of The Jump on Friday night, timed with the opening of free agency, but that feels like ages ago. To people who care about basketball, there has been a crucial update at least four times per day for the past five days. The NBA has become a 10-month season. Who needs parity or equitable conferences when you have Gordon Hayward dragging out his free-agency decision across five days?