Hayward told Utah officials that he is moving on after seven seasons with the Jazz and that he picked Boston, making the announcement Tuesday evening on The Players' Tribune site.
Hayward played college ball under Stevens at Butler. He leaves a loaded Western Conference to join a Boston team that was the No. 1 seed in last season's Eastern Conference playoffs. The Miami Heat also were in the chase to land Hayward.
He was finally an All-Star for the first time last season, averaging career bests of 21.9 points and 5.4 rebounds. Hayward also shot 47%, a significant jump over what he managed in the previous four seasons.
“This was a life-changing decision for me and my family, and something we took really seriously,” Hayward wrote. “And from the very start of this process, one thing stood out as important: I knew that I wanted the fans and the organizations to hear my decision directly from me.
“After seven years in Utah, I have decided to join the Boston Celtics.”
His post capped a strange day, after it was widely reported in the early afternoon that Hayward picked the Celtics — a decision immediately shot down by his agent Mark Bartelstein, who told The Associated Press and many other outlets that Hayward was still going over his options.
Several hours later, it was done, and it was Boston.
“This has been the toughest decision that I've ever had to make in my life,” Hayward wrote. “This weekend has probably been the longest weekend of my life. And today . well, today has definitely been one of the craziest days of my life. But I wanted to make sure that I got this right.”
He becomes the third prominent free agent in three years to announce his plans on July 4: LaMarcus Aldridge left Portland for San Antonio on that date in 2015, and Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City for Golden State on the holiday in 2016.
In other NBA news:
-- The Sacramento Kings have agreed to a two-year, $24-million deal with forward Zach Randolph, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said.The sides came to agreement on Tuesday, reuniting Randolph with former Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger, now the coach in Sacramento. The person spoke to the Assssociated Pre on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot be signed until Thursday. ESPN first reported the agreement.
-- Forward Mike Scott has reportedly agreed to a $1.7-million, one-year contract with the Washington Wizards. The person confirmed the agreement for the veteran's minimum to the Associated Press on Tuesday on condition of anonymity, because it won't become official until the free agency moratorium period ends on Thursday. The deal between the 6-foot-8 Scott and the Wizards was first reported by ESPN.
-- Forward Patrick Patterson has reportedly agreed to a three-year, $16.4-million deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Patterson is leaving Toronto to join All-Star Paul George in a new-look Thunder frontcourt, a person with knowledge of the deal told the Associated Press. The deal was first reported by ESPN. Patterson was a valuable reserve for the Raptors, averaging 7.6 points in nearly four seasons. The Raptors kept Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka but Patterson has a chance to fill a need in Oklahoma City, where Taj Gibson left for Minnesota and Domantas Sabonis was dealt to Indiana in the trade for George.
-- Chris Bosh's time with the Miami Heat is officially over. Weeks after the sides came to a final agreement on how to part ways and more than a year since his last NBA appearance because of blood-clot issues, Bosh was waived by the Heat on Tuesday. The move was a formality. It gives Miami access to $25.3 million in salary-cap space for this coming season, which the Heat will use to sign free agents starting Thursday. Bosh still gets that salary, plus $26.8 million for next season, and in theory could continue his career - if another team declares him fit to play.
6 p.m.: This article has been updated with the news that free-agent forward Gordon Hayward will join the Boston Celtics.
This article was originally published at 10:50 a.m.