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Chris Mannix on OM&F: Gordon Hayward is Celtics’ guy, could be interested in trading for Jimmy Butler 05.17.17 at 4:03 pm ET
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The Celtics appear to be in on Gordon Hayward. (Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics appear to be in on Gordon Hayward. (Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports)

The Vertical’s Chris Mannix joined Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Wednesday to discuss the NBA draft lottery and what the Celtics plan to do this summer. To hear the interview, go to the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page.

Mannix believes the Celtics will take Washington guard Markelle Fultz No. 1 overall, and then target signing Gordon Hayward, who played for Brad Stevens at Butler.

“Well, they can’t just go out there and extend all these offers to everyone that hits the free agent market, but they don’t intend to,” Mannix said. “They’ve got a pretty good idea of what they want to do this summer.

“Gordon Hayward is the guy. That’s who they are going to roll out the red carpet for and see if they can lure him away from Utah. They know the financial situation there. Gordon can make a lot more money staying with the Jazz, but they believe that the lure of Brad Stevens and the appeal of playing in the Eastern Conference and getting far, far away from the Golden State Warriors is going to be a luring to Gordon Hayward.”

Mannix also said the Celtics could be in on trading for the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler if the price has come down since the deadline and extending Isaiah Thomas is not a priority. He will be a free agent after next season.

“I don’t think it is a priority for Boston to extend Isaiah Thomas this summer,” he said. “I really don’t. He wants the money. He wants to be paid in that $20-25 million per season range. He thinks he’s done enough to earn it. He’s right, but I don’t see Boston making that a real priority here. I think their priority is to make a splash in free agency and I think they are going to sit down and sell this to Isaiah. They are going to tell him, ‘We want to pay you. We’re not afraid to pay you. We believe you’re worth $25 million a year, whatever it is that you think you are worth. We just can’t do it right now.’ You have to have cap flexibility to give a guy an extension. There has to be room under your cap to do that.

“Boston wants Hayward. They want to try and go out and trade for a Jimmy Butler if he turns out to be more available than he was at the deadline. I think giving Isaiah an extension is pretty far back on Boston’s list of priorities.”

Read More: Chris Mannix, Gordon Hayward, Isaiah Thomas,
Jae Crowder stands by criticism of cheering for Gordon Hayward, apologizes for dissing Boston 01.05.17 at 1:35 pm ET
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Jazz forward Gordon Hayward shoots over Celtics counterpart Jae Crowder on Tuesday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Jazz forward Gordon Hayward shoots over Celtics counterpart Jae Crowder on Tuesday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Jae Crowder is apologizing, but he isn’t backing down.

Speaking to reporters before Celtics practice on Thursday, Crowder said he regretted some of his “heat of the moment” comments on Twitter following Tuesday’s victory over the Jazz, when he blasted Celtics fans for cheering potential free agent target Gordon Hayward. But he stood by his assertion that home fans shouldn’t cheer rival players.

“I was really angry after the game, obviously,” Crowder told reporters, including Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston. “I said what I had to say after the game. I probably should have left it right there. I went on Twitter and said what I had to say, and there’s nothing that I regret going back and forth with fans on Twitter — that’s how I was feeling at the time.

“Obviously, I don’t want to leave Boston. Obviously, I love it here. Obviously, the fans have treated me great. No doubt about that.

“I still stand behind what I said about how I felt disrespected when they’re cheering for Gordon Hayward. I live with that. I stand behind that 100 percent as a man, as a basketball player who puts my time away from my family into it.”

Crowder got into a back-and-forth with fans over the intent of his remarks, tweeting — and subsequently deleting — that he’d be happy to leave Boston. He regretted that comment, but still doesn’t understand why Celtics fans would cheer Hayward, who played for head coach Brad Stevens at Butler. Celtics fans have similarly applauded Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins in the past.

“I didn’t like that, either,” Crowder said. “I just remember when I got here a couple years ago and we were however many games under .500, the fans cheered for us. Not one time did they cheer for another player when they came into town. Things have changed since then, I’m aware of that. That’s never happened in an arena that I’ve been in. I’ve never been on the road and got cheered for, or even one of my teammates get cheered for by the opposing team.

“It’s just something different for me that really set me off. I don’t like when they cheer for DeMarcus Cousins, I don’t like when they cheer for Kevin Durant. I don’t think you should do that. That’s all I was saying.”

Read More: Celtics, DeMarcus Cousins, Gordon Hayward, Jae Crowder
Jae Crowder rips Celtics fans for cheering Utah’s Gordon Hayward before victory over Jazz 01.04.17 at 12:32 am ET
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Jae Crowder, in many ways, is the heart and soul of the Celtics. He’s the one who basically said, “Who needs him?” after Kevin Durant spurned the C’s this winter, and he was none too pleased with fans who cheered a rival on Tuesday night.

The C’s beat the Jazz, 115-104, but what got Crowder going was the reaction to Jazz forward Gordon Hayward, a potential free agent target this summer. Celtics fans cheered Hayward during introductions and Crowder took it as an insult.

“I heard the cheering before the game,” Crowder told reporters, including Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. “I didn’t like that at all. I think that was a sign of disrespect to me from the fans. That sparked a little fire in me.”

Hayward led the Jazz with 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting, but was a minus-21 overall. Crowder, meanwhile, scored 21 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including 5-for-6 from 3-point range, and went for a plus-22. He kept up his diatribe on Twitter, in part, perhaps, because he and Hayward play the same position.

Give Crowder this much — he’s consistent. If someone does something that ticks him off, he’s not keeping his mouth shut about it.

That said, Hayward would be a valuable addition to the Celtics. The 6-foot-8 26-year-old is averaging over 22 points and 6 rebounds a game for the resurgent Jazz, who are 22-14 and ranked fifth in the Western Conference.

Read More: Celtics, Gordon Hayward, Jae Crowder, jazz
Brad Stevens on Celtics defense: ‘We don’t have a chance to compete at a high level if we don’t guard better’ 01.03.17 at 7:15 pm ET
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Brad Stevens

Brad Stevens

Before taking on the Jazz at TD Garden, coach Brad Stevens discussed how inconsistent the Celtics have been on the defensive end this season and why it’s important for him to make the proper adjustments going forward. 

The Celtics will certainly have their hands full on Tuesday, facing one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. The Jazz lead the league in fewest points allowed (94.5), are currently fourth in the Western Conference and riding high on a four-game winning streak. 

Stevens broke down stretches throughout the season where he’s seen his team defend poorly and why going to a ‘small-ball lineup’ against particular teams hurts them on the defensive end. 

“Sometimes when we go small, we’re really small so we’ve had to adjust that,” Stevens explained. “First seven games we were atrocious, defensively — which would actually be a compliment to how we were. And then the last seven [games] we haven’t guarded late, the middle 20 we were third in the league. So, we gotta be great, we gotta be great on that end if we wanna improve. Hopefully, we can be better at that as we head into this month and a half before the All-Star break because we don’t have a chance to compete at a high level if we don’t guard better.”

The Celtics will certainly have their hands full in the low post, facing one of the league’s most impressive big men in Rudy Gobert. Utah’s defensive juggernaut is second in the league in blocks per game (2.60) behind Anthony Davis (2.62) and fifth in rebounding (12). 

Offensively, he leads the league in field goal percentage shooting at a 69 percent clip.

“He’s so big,” Stevens said about Gobert. “If he catches the ball on a roll and even if you’re there and he’s inside six [or] five feet of the basket, there’s a good chance you and the ball are both going into the basket together. He’s great at lobs. He’s gotten better, I think at finishing in traffic from what I’ve seen.

“He’s a good offensive rebounder. And then they have a bunch of guys that can really shoot the ball so he gets looks because you’re worried about the 3-point line. He’s a really good player and he’s having a great year.”

Another player who’s having a great season for the Jazz is their leading scorer, Gordon Hayward. Hayward is in the midst of the best season of his career, averaging 22.4 points a game while shooting 45 percent from the floor.

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Read More: Brad Stevens, Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert,
Report: Celtics boss Danny Ainge ‘wants to do a deal,’ eyes Gordon Hayward, but overvalues players like Marcus Smart 12.15.16 at 10:35 am ET
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Danny Ainge

Danny Ainge

Danny Ainge’s hunt for a superstar continues.

Noted NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said on his Vertical podcast (fast-forward to 35-minute mark) on Wednesday that Ainge is itching to pull the trigger on a deal for a star, but as usual is finding the going rough.

One name to keep an eye on: impending free agent swingman Gordon Hayward of the Jazz, who played for Celtics coach Brad Stevens at Butler and has emerged as a potential All-Star this year.

“Danny’s wanted to strike and, like everybody else, get that big star, get that big player,” Wojnarowski said. “[Al] Horford was a big play and a great get in free agency. They can still keep their eye on Gordon Hayward from Utah who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer who played for Brad Stevens at Butler. I think there’s still strong hope in Utah that he’ll want to stay there.”

One problem hamstringing Ainge, according to Wojnarowski, is that he’s overvaluing players in trade talks, particularly misfiring guard Marcus Smart.

“Boston’s interesting in that (they have) some good young players, they have draft picks they can put in deals and they have some veterans that hold some interest in places,” Wojnarowski added. “I do wonder sometimes if Boston might overvalue some of the players they have compared to what the rest of the league sees in them. I think Marcus Smart might be starting to fall into that category. His name’s been in some talks previously, and they’ve been pretty careful about who they’d give him up for.”

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Read More: Brad Stevens, Celtics rumors, Danny Ainge, Gordon Hayward
Report: Jazz forward Gordon Hayward wants out of Utah, Celtics making push to acquire him 06.22.16 at 1:06 pm ET
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Gordon Hayward became a household name under the tutelage of Brad Stevens at Butler. Could they be reunited in the NBA?

According to one report from Brian Geltzeiler of HoopsCritic.com and Sirius radio, Hayward wants out of Utah, and the Celtics are trying to figure out a way to get him:

The 6-foot-8 Hayward has improved over his five NBA seasons, averaging a career-high 19.7 points per game last season. He can opt out of his contract after next season, however, which makes him a risk to leave in free agency after just one season in Boston.

Stevens, who now coaches the Celtics, joined forces with Hayward to lead Butler within a rimmed-out halfcourt shot of defeating Duke in the 2010 NCAA title game.

Read More: Celtics rumors, Gordon Hayward, NBA Draft, NBA trade rumors
Celtics choice: Bradley Beal vs. Gordon Hayward 05.23.16 at 9:25 am ET
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As the days pass leading up to June’s NBA draft, we want to encourage the debate regarding what the Celtics should do with the No. 3 overall pick. In that spirit, we present “Celtics choice.”

Today: Using the No. 3 pick to trade for Wizards guard Bradley Beal (assuming he re-signs in Washington or somewhere else) or Jazz guard Gordon Hayward.

The case for Beal

At 6-foot-5, Beal has the ideal length to be a shooting guard, the role he’s most prominently served in Washington next to John Wall. He averaged a team-leading and career-best 17.4 points per game over 55 games this past season. He led the Wizards in their 10 playoff games from 2015 when he averaged 23.4 points. He is a career 40 percent shooter from 3-point range, another huge plus in the Stevens system. He is still very, very young, only turning 23 in June.

The case against Beal

Not worth the trouble and way too complicated. To acquire Beal, the Celtics could either go out and spend for him as a restricted free agent, opening the door for the Wizards to match or use Bird rights on him. Beal’s spent his first four years trying to prove he is a part of Washington’s future. Beal is set to become a restricted free agent on July 1 because he and the team didn’t come to terms on a contract extension before a Nov. 2 deadline. “I want to be here. I don’t know,” Beal said, according to the Washington Post. “I don’t even know what I’m getting into right now. It’s like choosing colleges again. But I’m happy where I am. Hopefully, we can agree with each other this summer and we can get it done. But if not, it’s a business at the end of the day.”

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Bradley Beal, Gordon Hayward
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