Rudy Gobert 'didn't like' the way Gordon Hayward handled Utah Jazz exit
NBA.com staff reports
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert says he isn’t upset about Gordon Hayward’s decision to join the Boston Celtics in free agency, but certainly didn’t appreciate the way things went down on July 4.
“You cannot be mad at somebody for wanting to play for another team,” Gobert told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “It’s just the way he handled it, that’s the thing I didn’t like. I’m happy for him at the same time. I hope he’s going to be happy over there and get what he’s looking for.”
Hayward made the decision to leave Utah after seven seasons and team up with his former college coach Brad Stevens in Boston, a move he announced on The Player’s Tribune.
Hours before Hayward’s article was posted, a report from ESPN’s Chris Haynes stated the All-Star would be heading to the Celtics. What appeared to be breaking news at the time was quickly denied from Hayward’s agent Mark Bartelstein, claiming a decision had not yet been made.The move was made public from Hayward later in the day and neither Gobert or any Jazz teammates were informed beforehand, according to MacMahon.
“To all his teammates, all the guys that he competed with for years, guys that sacrificed for him and for the team, not necessarily tell us but make sure as a team we can keep going forward if he leaves,” Gobert said. “I think that wasn’t the best way to do it, but I’m over it now. I’m just focused on the team.”
Being left in the dark clearly wasn’t the best feeling for Gobert, who played four seasons with Hayward and helped build the franchise’s first 50-win team since 2009-10. The NBA’s leading shot blocker also traveled to San Diego to attend Utah’s free agency pitch. That was after sparking a Twitter emoji war with Boston’s Isaiah Thomas and Miami’s Hassan Whiteside while Hayward was making his decision between the three teams.
It’s worth pointing out that Gobert says he’s happy for Hayward and wishes him the best. He’s now looking ahead to the future and enjoying watching Utah’s first-round pick Donovan Mitchell, who’s off to a solid start, in Las Vegas Summer League.