Gordon Hayward’s agent on his client’s recovery and how the Isaiah Thomas trade affected the Celtics’ reputation

"Sometimes it breaks your heart when some of these decisions are made."

Gordon Hayward
Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics looks on during the first quarter against the Washington Wizards on Friday. –Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Mark Bartelstein, the agent who represents Gordon Hayward, is preaching patience when it comes to the forward’s recovery.

On WEEI Late Night with Patrick Gilroy, Bartelstein noted it might take until next season for his client to regain the All-Star, max contract-worthy form he was in with the Utah Jazz.

“There’s no doubt in my mind,” Bartelstein said. “My guess is he doesn’t get his game all the way back where we’re accustomed to seeing it until next year. He’s going to need a summer to get back in the gym and get back in the laboratory and the weight room and build on everything he did last year. But there’s not a doubt in my mind. He’ll be an All-Star in this league many, many times over.”

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The agent noted that people don’t quite understand the severity of Hayward’s injury. He suffered a fractured tibia and dislocated left ankle five minutes into his Celtics’ debut, then underwent a second surgery, missed an entire season, and couldn’t fully prepare for this season over the summer.

“He’ll be right back where we’re used to seeing him,” he said. “Everybody just needs to be a little patient with him, that’s all.”

Bartelstein also addressed the idea that free agents would avoid Boston because general manager Danny Ainge dealt Isaiah Thomas in 2017 months after the point guard, while grieving the loss of his sister and dealing with a hip injury, led the Celtics to the conference finals.

“I don’t think there’s anything like that at all,” he said. “Danny does a sensational job. I have the utmost respect for Danny. He’s forthright, honest about everything, tells you exactly what he’s thinking. We have a great relationship. I trust him implicitly. I don’t think that feeling or reputation is out there at all.

“When it’s all said and done, this is a tough business, and it is a business. The teams, rightly so, their job is to try to make decisions that puts the very best product on the floor for Celtics fans, so they’ll enjoy coming to the Garden and tune in and feel like their team has a chance to win a championship. And that’s a team’s prerogative. Sometimes they’ve got to make very tough decisions.”

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The agent, who also represents Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, acknowledged that there can be tension between the players’ interest and the teams’ interest. However, he offered that if people are honest and transparent in their thought process, “then you have to respect a decision.”

“I think teams respect when a player makes a decision in his best interests, and we try to do the same thing,” Bartelstein said. “Sometimes you don’t like it, and sometimes it breaks your heart when some of these decisions are made, but at the end of the day, we all know we have a master we have to live up to. From my perspective, it’s doing what’s in the player’s best interest, and from Danny’s perspective, he’s got to do what’s in the best long-term interest of the franchise.”

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