11 Players the Celtics never should have gambled on

The Boston Celtics regretted acquiring these talents.
Boston Celtics, Kyrie Irving
Boston Celtics, Kyrie Irving / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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8. Gordon Hayward

Hayward was coming off his first All-Star appearance when he joined the Celtics in 2017. The 6’7 wing was in the middle of his prime and eager to help his new franchise win. Boston had just lost in the conference finals to LeBron James and the Cavaliers, but traded for Kyrie Irving and drafted Jayson Tatum.

Hayward’s first season in Boston lasted just five regular season minutes before a gruesome leg injury ended his season. The 6’7 wing never fully bounced back. The Celtics made the conference finals again and lost to the Cavaliers in seven games without Hayward and Irving in the lineup.

Hayward spent two more years in Beantown. He played just 25.9 minutes per game in 2017-18 but pushed near 30 in the playoffs as the Celtics were knocked out in the second round by the Bucks. Injuries hampered him again in 2020, including playing in just five of their 17 playoff games.

Gordon Hayward opted out of his contract after three seasons and left for Charlotte. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown took over as Boston’s stars. Hayward never quite lived up to his contract or expectations in Boston. Injuries were mostly to blame, including the career-altering one he suffered just minutes into his Celtics tenure.