Chauncey Billups skipped the debut of the Big3 basketball league last week to focus on another league — the NBA — as he mulled a reported offer to become the Cavaliers’ president of basketball operations.
Miami is also in the free agency race for Hayward, and displayed a banner of him on Saturday outside American Airlines Arena. Hayward was photoshopped into a Heat jersey.
Stevens recruited and coached Hayward while at Butler, where they took a trip to the 2010 NCAA title game. Hayward left for the NBA that summer, and Stevens left college basketball to take the Celtics position three years later.
Stevens personally picked up Hayward and his wife from the airport Saturday night, according to the Celtics.
Hayward was given a tour of Fenway on his visit, where he saw the message. He was also shown a video of Boston teams’ achievements to show him what it would be like to add to the city’s historic sports moments.
Hayward was named an All-Star for the first time in his career this past season, and deservedly so. He averaged career-highs in points (21.9) and rebounds (5.4) while guarding at a high level as part of Utah’s elite defense.
The connection to the Celtics is obvious with Hayward’s former college coach Brad Stevens at the helm, but the Heat will reportedly make Hayward a top priority as Pat Riley attempts to build up a team that just barely missed the playoffs. This would be a huge loss for the Jazz, so expect them to do whatever it takes to keep Hayward on board.