Boston Celtics

Gordon Hayward: Players' Tribune holding up announcement 'completely false'

Gordon Hayward: Players' Tribune holding up announcement 'completely false'

What the hell was going on between the initial report of Gordon Hayward’s decision to join the Celtics and his actual announcement, a delay of hours that including his agent denying the agreement on the record? 

Danny Ainge gave his explanation Friday morning, insisting the Celtics weren’t sure they had the player until right around the time he announced it. 

Hayward’s turn came later on Friday, and he strongly denied that the delay was related to  him finishing his piece for The Players’ Tribune.

“That was definitely a hectic day,” he said on a conference call. “My mind was just in all kinds of different places that day. I think it’s definitely fair to say that I was leaning towards Boston, but at the same time, we hadn’t figured it out, and I was going back and forth with Mark, and we were really discussing throughout the day different reasons why or why not I should go to a different place. 

“I was literally on the phone with mark when the story broke online, and I’m looking at my phone, I’m getting blown up saying I’ve decided to become a Boston Celtic, and as everybody knows, it was all over the internet. 

“At that point in time we decided, look, we have to step away from this. I was pretty upset that that had happened. I didn’t feel like I was ready to say, ‘Yes, I want to be a Boston Celtic,’ so I had to take a step back and regroup and I think we talked about it more and more, then finally we put out the article, but I know there was a lot of reports with people saying we were finishing up the article for the Tribune, which is just completely false. 

“I had a ghostwriter that I was talking with throughout the course of my visits, and I was sharing my thoughts the whole time. It was one of those things where once I made a decision, it was like five minutes [to] finish up and we were ready to go. 

“I’m kind of bummed how it happened, but in this day and age, that kind of stuff goes on and there’s not much you can do about it.”

ESPN’s Chris Haynes was the first to report the agreement, which was confirmed by multiple outlets including CSNNE. Haynes sent out the following tweet after Hayward announced it.  

NBA adds 'Harden Rule' and 'Zaza Rule' for players' safety

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NBA adds 'Harden Rule' and 'Zaza Rule' for players' safety

NEW YORK - NBA referees will be able to call flagrant or technical fouls on defenders who dangerously close on jump shooters without allowing them space to land, as Zaza Pachulia did on the play that injured Spurs star Kawhi Leonard in last season's playoffs.

Officials will also make sure jump shooters are in their upward shooting motion when determining if a perimeter foul is worthy of free throws, which could cut down on James Harden's attempts after he swings his arms into contact.

The new rules interpretations are being unofficially called the "Harden Rule" and the "Zaza Rule". The Washington Wizards accused the Celtics' Al Horford of a dangerous closeout on Markieff Morris that injured Morris and knocked him out of Game 1 of their playoff series two weeks before the Pachulia-Leonard play.

Leonard sprained his ankle when Pachulia slid his foot under Leonard's in Game 1 of Golden State's victory in the Western Conference finals. After calling a foul, officials will now be able to look at a replay to determine if the defender recklessly positioned his foot in an unnatural way, which could trigger an upgrade to a flagrant, or a technical if there was no contact but an apparent attempt to injure.

"It's 100 percent for the safety of the players," NBA senior vice president of replay and referee operations Joe Borgia said Thursday.

The NBA had made the freedom to land a point of emphasis for officials a few years ago, because of the risk of injuries. 

Officials can still rule the play a common foul if they did not see a dangerous or unnatural attempt by the defender upon review. Borgia said Pachulia's foul would have been deemed a flagrant.

With the fouls on the perimeter shots - often coming when the offensive player has come off a screen and quickly attempts to launch a shot as his defender tries to catch up - officials will focus on the sequencing of the play. The player with the ball must already be in his shooting motion when contact is made, rather than gathering the ball to shoot such as on a drive to the basket.

"We saw it as a major trend in the NBA so we had to almost back up and say, `Well, wait a minute, this is going to be a trend, so let's catch up to it,"' NBA president of league operations Byron Spruell said.