How the Warriors Factored Into Gordon Hayward's Decision to Join Celtics

On July 4, Gordon Hayward decided he would leave the Utah Jazz and join the Boston Celtics.

On Monday, he joined Adrian Wojnarowski on The Woj Pod to break down the free-agent process.

"How much were you looking at Utah in the West and Golden State?" Woj asked Hayward. "When you imagine what Utah could be -- if you stayed, Ricky (Rubio) comes and you look at the other pieces -- what did you think that Jazz team could be? And Golden State -- does it have to impact your thinking?"

"Golden State is obviously the team to beat," Hayward answered. "Whether you're in the West or the East, you have to play them at some point in time. I thought in Utah, I thought we matched up pretty well with them. Just the style that we played, some of the guys that we had. I thought that we matched up pretty well.

"Unlucky with George (Hill) and his injury, but we had moments against them -- even though we got swept -- we had moments against them where I thought you know, maybe we could make a run at 'em."

Hill did not play in Games 2 through 4 because of a toe injury.

In Game 3, the Jazz led by nine midway through the 3rd quarter, but the Warriors won by 11.

In Game 4, the Warriors led by as many as 24 points early in the 2nd quarter, the Jazz cut it to five points in the 3rd quarter, and Golden State wound up winning by 26.

"The games at home, I thought we were right there," Hayward said. "We do have a healthy George, it's probably a little different -- maybe we sneak a game. But they're still a juggernaut.

"But when we're going through this process and you keep seeing some of the big-name guys and the West is loading up more and more and more, it's not something where, it's not like 'I'm gonna go East just so I don't have to play them,' because you don't want to run from competition at all. That's not how I am.

"But there is a sense that it's probably the smarter thing as far as you're not gonna have to battle it out with all these teams just to make it to the second round ... giving yourself a better chance against a Golden State.

Chris Paul to the Rockets.

Paul George to the Thunder.

Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves.

Paul Millsap to the Nuggets.

Kyrie Irving to the ?????

The Spurs.

The West is going to be a bloodbath, and Steve Kerr believes the Warriors will be even better next year.

As Hayward summarized:

"It definitely crosses your mind, 100 percent."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

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