Celtics' Gordon Hayward: 'Easy Decision' to Leave Bubble If Wife Goes into Labor

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - FEBRUARY 26: Gordon Hayward #20 of the Boston Celtics warms up prior to a game at the Vivint Smart Home Arena on February 26, 2020 in Salt Lake City, UT. 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 Credit: 2020 NBAE (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
Chris Elise/Getty Images

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward said Friday he'll leave the NBA bubble if wife Robyn Hayward, who's pregnant with a due date in September for the couple's fourth child, goes into labor during the resumption of the 2019-20 season at the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida.

"That's a pretty easy decision for me on that," Hayward told reporters. "I've been there for the birth of all my children."

Robyn announced in March they were expecting their first boy after three girls.

Gordon explained leaving his family for Orlando will be difficult, but noted it's a sacrifice worth making with the Celtics in the NBA title conversation.

"Leaving the girlies is going to be a hard day for me," he said. "They're old enough now that they do understand what's going on and they know I'm going to be gone for a while. The opportunity to compete for a championship is something that a lot of us NBA players want to do."

Boston ranked third in the Eastern Conference with a 43-21 record when play was halted March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Celtics already clinched a playoff berth heading into the shortened eight-game finish to the regular season, which is scheduled to tip off July 30.

Hayward was enjoying a strong bounce-back campaign before the stoppage. The 30-year-old averaged 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 50.2 percent from the field, including 39.2 percent on threes.

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It's closer to the level he showcased during his final few years with the Utah Jazz before signing with the Celtics as a free agent in 2017. He suffered serious leg and ankle injuries in his first game with Boston, ruling him out for the remainder of 2017-18, and his performance lagged last season.

The team is set to get Kemba Walker (knee) and Jaylen Brown (hamstring) back from injuries when play resumes.

A full-strength lineup with Walker and Brown joining Hayward, Jayson Tatum and Daniel Theis can compete with any team in the East. The Celtics also featured a strong bench, led by Marcus Smart, Enes Kanter and Robert Williams III.

Smart would probably see the biggest uptick in playing time if Hayward leaves the bubble for family reasons as the C's would showcase more three-guard looks.

Boston's first game in Orlando is slated for July 31 against the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks. The first round of the playoffs is scheduled to start Aug. 17, with the last possible Finals date being Oct. 13.