The Boston Celtics pulled out all the stop in their attempts to woo Gordon Hayward away from the Utah Jazz and Miami Heat.
The Celtics met with the free agent forward Sunday in Boston underneath sun-soaked skies in what was a perfect New England summer day.
It was the Celtics’ turn to make their pitch to the All-Star after the Heat met with him Saturday and before the Jazz get their chance to convince him to stay. So how exactly do the Celtics convince Hayward to leave a lot of money on the table and join them?
Well, it appears one of the main selling points was to expose Hayward to the experience that comes with playing in Boston. It also appears the C’s used a famous Boston sports landmark — Fenway Park — for at least part of their pitch.
The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett on Monday morning detailed the Fenway meeting.
“(Sunday), a contingent from the club that included team president Danny Ainge, coach Brad Stevens — who, as you are well aware by now, was Hayward’s coach at Butler — Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford, took the prize on a tour that featured a stop in Fenway Park with a video on the center field board that had David Ortiz and some Celtics past extolling the virtues of playing in Boston,” Bulpett wrote.
An alert Celtics fan who lives near Fenway Park actually was able to record some of the video the team showed Hayward at Fenway.
You might be able to see and hear in the video that part of the message centered around the environment of playing in Boston at TD Garden.
ESPN’s Chris Forsberg reported even more details. “Interspliced among highlights of this year’s Celtics team were glimpses of Boston’s history, including shots of Red Auerbach, Bill Russell and Boston’s most recent Big Three era featuring Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen (whose No. 20 jersey Hayward could eventually wear),” Forsberg wrote.
“At the end of the video, Red Sox legend David Ortiz delivered a message to Hayward. “The video also included clips of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant talking about the atmosphere in Boston.”
Not a bad little recruiting pitch. The Celtics also reportedly spent part of the day selling Hayward on how he’d fit in from a basketball standpoint, as he’d be a huge piece of the team’s puzzle in its attempt to build on a 53-win season which saw them bow out in the Eastern Conference finals.
Initial reports indicated Hayward’s decision could come Tuesday or Wednesday, but Bulpett also reported he could make up his mind as soon as Monday night.