Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Gordon Hayward will take his first free-agent meeting with the Miami Heat on Saturday, a source told ESPN’s Jorge Sedano. Hayward will then be traveling Sunday to meet Utah on Monday, with Boston coming after that.
An earlier version of this story stated that Hayward would meet with Boston on Sunday, then Utah on Monday.
Sources previously told ESPN the Jazz regard the Heat as no less a threat to lure Hayward away than the Celtics, whose interest in the former Butler star has been anticipated for some time, largely thanks to the presence of Hayward’s college coach, Brad Stevens, on Boston’s bench.
The Jazz have a strong case to re-sign Hayward, thanks in large part to the five-year pact worth an estimated $180 million that only they can offer, as well as Utah’s on-the-rise status in the Western Conference.
Gordon Hayward will skate to three teams and three teams only starting 48 hours from now. It’s the three teams we’ve been hearing about over the last three months, no surprises: Miami; his current team, the Jazz; and the Celtics. For those spending hours on reddit trying to analyze the order in which Hayward will visit with each club, don’t waste your time. I went back to look at the order in which Kevin Durant took his meetings and the Warriors were nestled in second after meeting with the incumbent Thunder to start. Pat Riley was given the opportunity to close with Durant, and that didn’t seem to have much of an effect.
The question is, does Hayward already know where he’s going? It seems as though Durant did last year, as it was revealed not long ago that he texted Draymond Green after the finals affirming he was ready to join Golden State. The meetings may not have only been for show, but KD was 99% of the way to the Dubs before stepping foot in his Hamptons’ mansion, or so it seemed. How far along is Hayward? There’s no way he’s torn into even thirds on what he wants to do.
Kurt Helin, of NBC Sports, was on 98.5 the other night and offered up this on Hayward:
“He’s not a guy who is going to be drawn to Miami, in the sense that it’s a great lifestyle and all of that. He has a family, he stays in. The one time I saw him at a big NBA party type of event, he literally stood in the corner with his buddies on their phones. He’s not the guy who gets out on the dance floor or in the champagne room. That’s not his style,” said Helin. “He’s going to make his decision based on where the experience of basketball would be good. Obviously money, but he’s going to get a lot of that anywhere. [He’ll decided based on] where he can win and where his family wants to be and feel welcome. Boston would be that.”
Gordon, I feel like we’re kindred spirits. Your approach to NBA parties was my approach to middle school dances, and look, we both made it (you’re an NBA all-star and I do some part-time NBA blogging)!
Look, if he picks Miami it’s due to the Pat Riley championship cologne he lathers on each morning and the desire to play for a great young coach for whom he’s never played before. If he picks Utah it’s the chance to continue building a legacy in a city that loves its basketball with a nice team and another really good coach. If he wants to be closest to a championship, play for a smart young coach for whom he’s played before in a town that goes crazy for its stars, he’ll come to Boston. He probably already has an idea of where he’s going, the order of these meetings has nothing to do with it.
On page 2, goodbye, sweet man-bun
Kelly Olynyk may reportedly be heading toward unrestricted free agency.
Wojnarowski explained the Celtics are striving to sign Hayward and then trade for George, and not bringing back Olynyk would open up some financial flexibility.
Brian Robb of Boston.com pointed out restricted free agents typically remain with their teams, but he said the Gonzaga product could be an exception because “his $7 million salary cap hold will be a roadblock to signing a max free agent.”
Bleacher Report — Kelly Olynyk ‘likely’ to become unrestricted free agent
Once this becomes official, I’m really looking forward to 1,000 words from Chuck on how the Kelly Olynyk experience made him feel over the past four seasons. I once likened Kelly to Donkey Kong in Super Mario Kart: It took a while for Kelly to get going, especially if coming off of an injury, much like it took Donkey Kong a few seconds to get up to full speed, but once in a groove, both could really do their thing. This past season, I expected Kelly to morph back into first half of 2015-2016 Kelly, who was a dynamo almost every night offensively, while staying in good position on the defensive end. Alas, that never happened. KO was wildly inconsistent, did things that made me want to pull my hair out and was M.I.A against the Cavs– a “back to reality” type of performance after his season-saving game seven against the Wizards.
Kelly’s going to get paid. He’s a floor-stretching big heading into his prime years, and may put up better stats on a team where he’s either the undisputed sixth man, or maybe even a starting big on a bad club. I’ll miss Kelly, but not too much. Chuck, please get to writing. I feel like this could be your defining column.
And finally, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have a nickname
Tatum’s assessment of his game and Brown’s goes as follows:
“He’s a lot stronger, bigger than me,” Tatum, who is 6-foot-8, 204 pounds, acknowledged. “He’s much more athletic. Offensively, I think that’s what I excel in, being smooth and my ability to score. I can just learn from him, the things that he went through last year.”
One of the things he has already picked up on, is that Brown is a pretty smart – and at times clever – dude.
Not long after Tatum picked jersey number 11, Brown, who wears number 7, took to social media and came up with a 7-11 theme that has already lead to some pretty snazzy t-shirt designs.
“I thought it was funny,” Tatum said. “It’s catchy; I like it.”
This is what happens when you get a guy from Duke whose entrepreneurial spirit and big heart has him thinking of starting a non-profit and a guy from Cal who loves to play chess on the same team: You get brilliantly clever nicknames based off jersey numbers like 7 and 11.
If the two connect on an ally-oop can TD-Garden give coupons for free slurpees to all in attendance? If they combine for less than 6-points in a game, can they give out free coupons for the 6-day-old hot dogs that sit out on the grill near the cash registers?
The rest of the links: