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Unnamed Warriors Player: Gordon Hayward Is 'Liability on Both Ends of the Court'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2019

BROOKLYN, NY - JANUARY 14:  Gordon Hayward #20 of the Boston Celtics looks on against the Brooklyn Nets on January 14, 2019 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. 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 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

After recovering from a fractured ankle, Gordon Hayward hasn't been the same player he was with the Utah Jazz, and one unnamed member of the Golden State Warriors went so far as to call the Boston Celtics star a "liability."

In a video for CLNS Media Network's Garden Report, Jeff Goodman of Stadium relayed what he had heard from one Warriors player (h/t SB Nation's Celtics Blog): "I talked to a Warriors player who told me, 'Listen, Gordon Hayward is not Gordon Hayward right now. He's hurting them. He's a liability on both ends of the court.'"

Hayward was an All-Star in 2016-17, which proved to be his final year with the Jazz. He averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists and shot 39.8 percent from three-point range.

Paul George gave some Celtics fans hope that Hayward would immediately continue playing at that level once he was fully healthy. George fractured his leg in August 2014, which kept him out for all but six games during the 2014-15 season. The following year, he was an All-Star for the Indiana Pacers.

Hayward, on the other hand, has struggled mightily in 2018-19. He's averaging 10.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists and shooting 31.7 percent from the perimeter.

Describing Hayward as a "liability" is harsh but fair. According to NBA.com, the Celtics have a 3.4 net rating with him on the court. Boston's net rating improves to 10.0 when he's on the bench.

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Hayward's lackluster performance carries consequences that extend beyond this season as well.

When they signed him to a four-year, $127.8 million deal, the Celtics viewed him as a foundational piece of their future. A month after landing Hayward, Boston also acquired Kyrie Irving, putting the team one player short of assembling a coveted Big Three.

Now, the Celtics may have to reset expectations with regard to Hayward and their overall ceiling.

Even if Boston reached the point where it wanted to try to trade Hayward and create some financial flexibility, his contract would be a major roadblock.