Isaiah Thomas referred to Gordon Hayward as the missing link that could propel the Boston Celtics past the Cleveland Cavaliers after the free-agent swingman reportedly agreed to a four-year, $128 million deal to link up with the defending Atlantic Division champions Tuesday, according to The Vertical's Shams Charania.
"The type of player we needed to get to the Finals," Thomas said to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski in reference to Hayward. "I'm excited and can't wait to get to work."
Thomas also welcomed Hayward to the team with a post on Twitter:
Hayward should make the Celtics far more potent a year after they finished eighth in offensive efficiency, which is good news for a team that didn't have enough firepower to hang with the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals after Thomas went down with a hip injury.
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As competitive as the Celtics may be with Hayward, Thomas, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Avery Bradley all in tow, the Cavaliers will remain the class of the conference pending further notice.
LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love continue to comprise one of the league's most dynamic Big Threes, and considering they've made it to the NBA Finals in each of the past three seasons, they should be considered the front-runners to represent the East next year when the Larry O'Brien Trophy is up for grabs.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com