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Gordon Hayward chooses to sign with Celtics over Heat, Jazz

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Hayward chose the Celtics in large part to his familiarity with coach Brad Stevens.

NBA: Miami Heat at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent forward Gordon Hayward finally decided to sign with the Boston Celtics on July 4 after a three-day whirlwind tour that included visits to the Miami Heat and Boston over the weekend before meeting with the Utah Jazz for more than three hours in San Diego on Monday.

However, Hayward’s decision was still not official just yet, and indeed there was uncertainty over what was going on. Hayward and his agent insisted no decision had been made by then.

With Hayward joining the Eastern Conference Finalist and #1 East seed Celtics, it officially ends the Miami’s pursuit of a whale in free agency. Fortunately, the Heat can quickly recover by bringing back James Johnson, who joined the Heat contigency that greeted Hayward at the AmericanAirlines Arena, Wayne Ellington (a team option that must be utilized by Friday) and Dion Waiters. Now that the Heat have officially waived Chris Bosh, there is plenty of work to do to retain as much of the team that finished 30-11 last season and possibly add a veteran or two to bolster the bench.

All three players were in a holding pattern — indeed, as was most of NBA free agency — until Hayward’s decision was officially announced.