Former Teammate Trevor Booker on Hayward: ‘Doesn’t Really Want To Be The Man’
The next chapter in the career of Gordon Hayward began when he bolted in free agency to sign with the Boston Celtics and play alongside Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford.
There were many reports of Hayward changing his mind multiple times, even agonizing over his decision to part ways with the Utah Jazz, but according to a former teammate, the writing was all over the wall well before his decision.
Brooklyn Nets forward and former Jazz player Trevor Booker told the Salt Lake Tribune that Hayward never wanted to be the man to carry an entire franchise on his shoulders.
“Gordon’s a guy who doesn’t really want to be the man,” Booker said. “… I’m not sure he wanted a franchise on his shoulders. Gordon’s a great player, and one of the best players in the league. But I wasn’t really surprised at his choice. I heard the rumors.”
He then expanded on those comments when he spoke to HoopsHype.
“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised that he left,” Booker said in a HoopsHype.com podcast. “When I was there, I heard rumors. I don’t know how true they were, but I heard rumors about him wanting to leave.”
“Boston picked up a tremendous player. Gordon can really play,” Booker said. “I still think he’s one of the most underrated players in the NBA; he can really hoop. But I wasn’t surprised to see him go. I was hoping that he stayed.”
“The Jazz were already legit and then with all of the players growing around him, they could have really made some noise,” Booker said. “But I’m not sure if he wanted, if he liked, being that star with all of the pressure on his shoulders. I think that might have had something to do with him going to Boston, where he can rely on Isaiah Thomas to take that pressure off of his shoulders.
“Isaiah is a superstar,” Booker continued. “Whereas in Utah, he’s (the franchise player) and playing in the Western Conference … it’s a little bit tougher.”