Jae Crowder Comments on Celtics Fans Cheering Gordon Hayward Before Game

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2017

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 3:  Gordon Hayward #20 of the Utah Jazz drives to the basket against Jae Crowder #99 of the Boston Celtics during the game on January 3, 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE  (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Boston Celtics fans at TD Garden made it clear Tuesday they would like to see Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward in green in the near future, which didn't exactly sit well with Jae Crowder.

Boston handled the Jazz 115-104, but Crowder seemed more concerned with the crowd's reaction to Hayward, per Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe: "I heard the cheering [for Hayward] before the game. I didn't like that at all. I think that was a sign of disrespect to me from the fans. That sparked a little fire in me."

Crowder also took to Twitter after the contest:



Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com noted Hayward could be a free agent this offseason and pointed to the connection between Hayward and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, who were both with Butler University from 2008-10. The crowd must have liked the idea of Hayward in Boston and responded in kind, and Crowder—who plays a similar perimeter forward role—responded with 21 points on 5-of-6 shooting from deep.

Hayward finished with a team-high 23 points but couldn't match Boston's Isaiah Thomas' 29 points and 15 assists.

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The idea of Hayward playing for the Celtics under his former college coach is nothing new. In October, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com cited league sources who said there was "real interest" from the team.

On Tuesday, James Herbert of CBSSports.com wrote, "Crowder also knows that, when it comes to trade speculation involving Boston, his name often comes up as someone who could be sent away."

Ananth Pandian of CBSSports.com reported in December that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge "is reportedly eyeing" Hayward and quoted The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, who had discussed the Butler product potentially signing with Boston as a free agent.

Tuesday wasn't the first time Crowder expressed his displeasure over news the Celtics could possibly target Hayward:


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Jay King of MassLive.com noted Crowder also retweeted someone on Tuesday who said Dallas Mavericks fans would welcome him back. Crowder responded to another user who told him to love or leave Boston by saying he didn't have a problem leaving, per King.

Forsberg pointed out Celtics fans have "often given warm greetings to both former players and potential free agents-to-be" and specifically highlighted Kevin Durant's visit last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder as an example of fans cheering for a free agent they wanted in Boston.

The Celtics are a formidable 21-14 after Tuesday's win and are sitting in the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference. They will likely need more help, however, if they're going to take down LeBron James and the reigning NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers this year or in coming seasons.

Boston fans may see Hayward as a high-scoring wing player who could be the missing piece to the puzzle, but in making their feelings known, they also appeared to alienate their own impact player.


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