Confusion over Gordon Hayward's decision sent NBA Twitter into conspiracy theory-ridden hysteria

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Gordon Hayward (AP)
Gordon Hayward (AP)

The internet is the single greatest thing to ever happen to the NBA offseason. And the single greatest thing it has enabled is NBA Twitter. And NBA Twitter… Well, it might have peaked in the hour between about 2:15 and 3:15 ET on Tuesday afternoon.

That’s because Gordon Hayward chose the Boston Celtics over the Miami Heat and Utah Jazz…

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Or did he?

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Yeah, he probably did, and just planned the order of his phone calls rather poorly…

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Or not?

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Maybe his agent is just trying to save face?

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WHAT IS GOING ON?!

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Oh boy.

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A little after 3 ET, we got word from a team official, Utah Jazz president Steve Starks:

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As we ultimately found out, the reason for the posturing and walking back of reports was that Hayward wanted to announce his decision via a Players’ Tribune article titled “Thank You, Utah.” And Boston was indeed his destination.

But as of late in the afternoon on the Fourth of July, Gordon Hayward had not given us his decision. He did, however give us a whirlwind hour that was disastrous, befuddling, conspiracy theory-inducing and enthralling all in one.

It began with excitement, then slight suspense. ESPN’s Chris Haynes broke the news at 2:17 ET. For about seven or eight minutes following Haynes’ tweet, many media outlets and fans responded as if it were a done deal, publishing stories, tweeting GIFs and graphics, and so on. But, at least for that brief period of time, not a single other reporter had the scoop. There was no confirmation.

But there was this Isaiah Thomas tweet, which NBA Twitter basically took as confirmation:

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And, like clockwork, the confirmations from reporters started to roll in:

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So did the tweets from players. Al Horford’s might have been completely unrelated to any Hayward news…

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But Ricky Rubio’s single-emoji tweet seemed to be the corollary to Thomas’:

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But it’s unclear if Thomas and Rubio were responding to reports circulating on social media, or to info they had gotten from Hayward’s camp, or even to info that had been passed on to them from the same sources that had fed the news to reporters.

Anyway, soon afterward, doubt crept in, and several reports circulated saying that no decision had been made:

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Heat center Hassan Whiteside then tweeted this…

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But Isaiah Thomas was still celebrating:

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Meanwhile, basketball Twitter began with realistic explanations for what might be going on:

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But the news that Hayward was going to “regroup” and “re-evaluate” led to chaos:

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The theories got more and more outlandish:

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But maybe that second theory wasn’t so outlandish?

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This was a total mess. If only there were ways to announce free agency decisions before the news leaked…

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Many people suspected the Players’ Tribune route was behind all of this…

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Alas, Haynes was right all along, and let everybody know about it with a legendary tweet:

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But we will never forget that glorious, unparalleled hour that NBA Twitter gave us. Never.

More NBA free agency from Yahoo Sports:
Shams Charania: George Hill gets $57 million deal from Kings
How Durant’s deal further threatens NBA parity
Michael Lee: A year later, Durant changes the game again
Reports: Gordon Hayward will join Celtics, or maybe he won’t
Dan Wetzel: Billups’ own Decision was all about LeBron