NBA London 2018: Gordon Hayward not heading to O2 Arena

Gordon Hayward

Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has confirmed that Gordon Hayward will not be joining his teammates in their trip to the UK next week, as he continues his recovery from injury.

Hayward suffered a sickening leg injury during the Boston Celtics’ season opener, and is unlikely to return this season – but fans were hopeful that they may see him at NBA London in January.

However, Stevens has confirmed this week that the forward will not be on the trip to the British capital.

“Gordon Hayward will not travel.” he said.

“He has not traveled on any of our road games yet and probably won’t for a little bit longer, until basically he doesn’t need our equipment here to do what he needs to do.

“So that’s still down the road a little bit.”

The news comes as a disappointment for many fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the former Utah Jazz star, but they will still have the opportunity to see plenty of star talent.

Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart are all set to hit the UK next week for the Celtics. Meanwhile Philadelphia will bring a raft of talent including Joel Embiid, JJ Redick and Ben Simmons.

Given the number of stars set to make the trip, Stevens believes that the impact events like NBA London have overseas is very important.

“I think we all recognize the impact of the NBA but certainly the impact of basketball across the world.” he said.

“I think of all the many incredible things that basketball has given to me, it’s been the opportunity to go to different places because of the game.

“When I was a college player, I played in four different countries in Europe. When I coached at Butler, we took our team to Finland. We took our team to Italy. We had set up a trip to go to Australia right before I left.

Brad Stevens (Photo: Bradjward)

Brad Stevens (Photo: Bradjward)

“As part of the NBA, I’ve already gotten a chance to coach in Madrid and Milan and also go on an NBA Cares trip to Johannesburg, and now we get to come to London.

“Without basketball, I don’t get to go to any of those places.

“To me, it’s just another thing to speak to why we’re so thankful to get an opportunity to do what we do, and kind of, I guess, the global impact of the game and how we’re all tied by the love of the game, and I think that that for a basketball junkie like me is the fun part of it.”

Heading to London will be a new experience for many of the Celtics players this season, but whilst the flight will be longer – Stevens doesn’t expect too much to be different when taking on the 76ers, but is looking forward to an extended stay in the British capital.

“Well, these guys are so used to playing in big arenas and special venues that we don’t give a second thought to that.”

“I think it’s more the opportunity we do get to practice at least once or twice there, and we get to work on some things we need to work on.

“I mean, a lot of times in the NBA you’re playing one night, hopping on a plane, playing somewhere else the next and then flying out.

This is the most unique part about this trip, other than the fact that it’s across the ocean in London, is the fact that we’re actually going to be in a city for a couple of days before we play and have a chance to work together.

“So that’s a real unique part from a travel perspective from a preparation perspective. But everything else will
be what I would say is pretty similar to the norm.”

The Philadelphia 76ers host the Boston Celtics at The O2 in London on Jan. 11 as part of NBA London Game 2018. The game is live on BT Sport or via NBA LEAGUE PASS.

Luke Hatfield is the creator and editor of BouncyOrangeBall, with an extensive knowledge of the NBA and basketball in general.

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