By Brian Robb, CBS Boston
SALT LAKE CITY (CBS) — The Celtics brought out all the stops for Gordon Hayward during his recruiting visit to Boston over the weekend. Brad Stevens picked him up at Logan Airport, Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford flew into town to make their cases, and the team also played a 6 minute pitch video for Hayward on the Fenway Park video board.
Normally, young parts of a roster aren’t involved in trying to attract a big name like Hayward. However, Jaylen Brown revealed on Wednesday that he was indeed part of the Celtics’ pitch team over the weekend as well. As Hayward toured the Celtics’ new practice facility (currently under construction in Allston), Brown was summoned to speak with the now-former Jazz forward.
“I was there at the facility when Hayward came in,” Brown explained. “We talked briefly for 10 or 15 minutes maybe with the front office and things. But I was there. … I guess (I was part of the pitch). I don’t know. They asked me to be there so I was there. But yeah, I guess. He was going to make his decision best for him regardless.”
The revelation may not appear to mean much on the surface, but the C’s use of Brown as a recruiting tool speaks volume about their plans for the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. While other key rotation players (Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley) are rumored to be in trade talks to open up the necessary salary cap room to sign Hayward, there have been no whispers about Brown’s future with the team. The Celtics are thrilled with the development of their 6-foot-7 swingman and see him as an integral part of the team’s quest to build a contender in the next few years.
Plus, Boston isn’t going to bring a player to a pitch meeting that they are going to trade.
Some veteran free agents might have preferred to see Brown moved for more “win-now” type pieces upon joining Boston, but the Celtics clearly believe that the 20-year-old wing has proven to the NBA world already that he’s on the verge of being a major contributor. His summer league debut on Monday night (29 points, 13 rebounds) was another positive sign on that front.
Combining the future potential of Brown and rookie Jayson Tatum with All-Star talents like Thomas and Horford clearly created an appealing core for Hayward to play with.
“It’s a city, a team, with a lot of history,” Brown said of the Celtics’ pitch. “Big legacy, big shoes to fill. It’s a team that wants to win and doesn’t settle for less. And I think that he wants to be a part of that. And that’s what he did.”