Celtics forward Gordon Hayward says he plans to temporarily leave the NBA’s “bubble” in Orlando, if the Celtics are still in contention at the time of the birth of his fourth child.
“It’s a pretty easy decision for me,” Hayward said Friday morning.
Hayward’s wife, Robyn, is due in September with a baby boy. Once Hayward departs for Orlando on July 8, Robyn and the couple’s three daughters will travel to Indianapolis to be with family.
The decision to leave his wife and children was “difficult,” Hayward said, but he expressed interest in continuing the season for an opportunity to compete for a championship.
After suspending its season in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA has designed a comeback plan to resume action at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex on the Disney World campus. Players have been asked to follow strict safety guidelines, which include a quarantine period upon arrival in addition to regular testing.
Friends and family are not permitted to join players in the “bubble” until Aug. 18, the first day of the first round of the playoffs.
“This is a unique experience that’s about to happen,” Hayward said. “I think leaving the girlies is going to be really hard and for sure a sad day for me. I think they’re old enough to the point now where they do understand what’s going on. We’ve tried to explain to them I’m going to be gone for a little while.”
The Conference Semifinals are scheduled to begin Sept. 1, with the Conference Finals expected to start two weeks later on Sept. 15. If the Celtics are still in contention, Hayward can receive permission to leave the “bubble” for the birth of his son and then return to play under the following conditions: If his absence is fewer than seven days, Hayward must test negative for coronavirus each day he is gone and then quarantine for four days upon returning to campus.
“If and when we’re down there and she’s going to have the baby, I’m for sure going to go be with her,” said Hayward, who was at the birth of each of his three children. “We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get there.”
Hayward credited Robyn for the way she’s handled the situation, though he acknowledged she has been “stressing a little bit.”
“My wife has been unbelievable through this whole thing,” he said. “Seriously, she is taking care of the girls, taking care of me because I’ve been home more. That’s something she does really well. All while being pregnant.”
Hayward said he still plans to be involved with storytime and bedtime remotely via video calls.
“Of course, she’s definitely sad,” he said of his wife. “I can’t blame her for that. I think it’s definitely a stressful time for us. But I think she’ll be happy if I go down there and play well and the Celtics play well. I know she will be.”