Lazar Hayward is an interesting player. The Minnesota Timberwolves traded up in the 2010 NBA draft in an attempt to hand him a guaranteed contract, odd for a talent that was already well past the age of 23 at the time, in a move this know-it-all dumbly chose to criticize. Hayward’s first run through Minnesota didn’t turn out that well – despite the team’s paucity of wing players he didn’t stand out, and he was traded to Oklahoma City for a second rounder as soon as 2011’s lockout ended. Just before 2012-13 started, he was sent to Houston in the James Harden deal. Days later, he was waived.
Now, after a whirlwind 30 months, Hayward is back with the Wolves just after submitting to play for the NBA Development League’s Los Angeles D-Fenders. In his time away from the bigs, he’s also apparently submitted to, erm, getting better at seeing ghosts. From Jerry Zgoda at the Star-Tribune:
Hayward has a friend whom he claims has talked through such a medium to a brother who has been dead for six years. That relationship helped convince him to seek his own answers.
"I've actually been able to see a spirit," Hayward said. "I can't talk to them yet, but I have seen them."
He has spent the past two months pursuing a path of what he calls "meditation and spiritual healing and living in an enlightened state" while also waiting for a road back to the NBA.
"I think it helps me cope with some of the things that go on in basketball and just in life," he said. "It really, really helps me a lot."
We offer absolutely no reflex when NBA players decide to credit their chosen deities for positive changes in their career, how they decide to celebrate their improved play is entirely up to them. We’re still having a hard time, though, recalling a player copping to moving the figurative Ouija Board parts around in order to speak to those who have moved on.
Much less discussing “meditation and spiritual healing” with reporters and “living in an enlightened state.”
This isn’t fodder for the typical turnaround discussion, but both Hayward and the Timberwolves will take whatever they can get. Lazar needs a gig – he may have entered the NBA at an age atypical for rookies but he’s quickly approaching his physical prime and is likely anxious after working as a member of the Washington Wizards (the team that drafted him, prior to the deal that sent him to Minnesota), Timberwolves, Thunder, Rockets and D-Fenders.
The Wolves? Coming off a season that saw them field perhaps the sorriest batch of wing players we can recall, and suffering through injuries to Chase Budinger and the uncertainty behind Brandon Roy’s contract? They need a shooting guard.
And for those needing to find someone to poke fun at? Fixate on me, the guy that takes photos of himself with cats. Hayward is clearly on a journey here to a sort of enlightenment that he believes in, and because he’s not shaping public policy and/or hurting anyone, it’s to everyone’s benefit. We wish him the best in his spiritual endeavors, and his attempts to turn around Minnesota’s fortunes in the backcourt.