Hayward was leaning towards Jazz hours before Celtics decision - agent

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There apparently is a perfectly good explanation to why Gordon Hayward took so long to make his decision on where to play next season -- he could not make up his mind, even less than 24 hours before Tuesday's announcement that he had signed with the Boston Celtics. 

According to Hayward's agent, after meetings and visits with Utah, the Celtics and the Miami Heat, the NBA All-Star forward and free agent was still torn on Monday after a meeting with newly acquired Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio. 

"I think after the meeting, he thought, 'My goodness, how can I leave this?'" Mark Bartelstein told The Vertical.

"On Monday night he was very much leaning towards staying in Utah, but he had just been through this whirlwind tour in three days. He woke up on Tuesday, still not really sure what he wanted to do."

The Celtics were long considered the top suitor for Hayward with his former Butler coach Brad Stevens now in Boston.

But a late push from Miami executive Pat Riley muddled Hayward's future in recent weeks.

"He felt Miami was the spot for him," Bartelstein said about Hayward's visit to the Heat on Saturday.

"He was enamoured with it. And then the next day, he was in Boston. Obviously there's a relationship with Brad Stevens... and really the same thing happened in Boston. He was wowed by the presentation that was put together. When he left Boston, he thought for sure that was the place for him."

Hayward averaged 21.9 points per game last season while shooting just under 40 per cent from beyond the three-point arc.

Boston desperately needed to find another shooter, one who could stretch the floor and create more room for fellow All-Star Isaiah Thomas.

"He felt Boston was the best place for where he is in his life and his career," Bartelstein said of Hayward. "[But the decision] was gut-wrenching for him."