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Former NBA exec explains why Gordon Hayward left Jazz for Celtics

Gordon Hayward, Celtics, Jazz

Gordon Hayward signed a four-year, $127.8 million contract with the Boston Celtics in the summer of 2017, ending his run with the Utah Jazz.

A former NBA executive who spoke to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report says the Jazz wanted to extend Hayward before he hit free agency, but they couldn’t pay market value and Hayward would have lost money if he didn’t enter free agency:

That’s actually a point of contention for several NBA executives who don’t understand why the rules limit teams from giving a maximum extension to a willing player.

“It’s why Gordon Hayward left the [Utah] Jazz for [the] Boston [Celtics in 2017],” a former executive said. “The Jazz wanted to extend him before he hit free agency. He probably would have taken it, but they couldn’t pay market value. Once a player is on the market, anything can happen. It’s one of the worst rules in the [collective bargaining agreement].”

Hayward is making $32,700,690 this season. He has a player option worth $34,187,085 for next season, one which the Celtics swingman will surely pick up since he has an injury history now.

Since leaving the Jazz, Hayward has played in 91 games with the Celtics. He’s averaging 16.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists this season in Boston while shooting 52.6 percent from the field, 35.6 percent from beyond the arc and 83.3 percent from the free-throw line.

The Jazz got lucky by landing Donovan Mitchell in the draft before Gordon Hayward left. Mitchell appears to be the new franchise player in Utah, with Rudy Gobert as a close second.