Does Gordon Hayward want to play alongside Isaiah Thomas?

It's less than half a month before the start of free agency, and rumors are running wild about who every team is targeting.

The Celtics have been linked to Gordon Hayward for at least the course of the regular season, even causing Jae Crowder to explode at fans after Boston hosted the Utah Jazz in the TD Garden.

But, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon on The Basketball Analogy podcast, Hayward is having "significant concerns" about playing with IT, via YardBarker:

“I do hear — this isn’t coming from Hayward’s camp, so it’s under the gossip category and not necessarily the reporting category — but I do hear Hayward has significant concerns about playing with Isaiah Thomas,” said MacMahon. “In other words, he wants the ball in his hands. He doesn’t just want to watch Isaiah dribble around and do his thing.”

The important footnote is that this isn't from Hayward's camp. In other words, it's entirely chatter coming from somewhere else in the league.

Whether that means it's true? Hard to say.

In Utah, Hayward is the player for the Jazz. He leads his team in usage rate percentage, at 27.6%. Compare that to Isaiah's 33.7% (which falls 8th in the league).

Those two percentages likely won't be able to coexist. One of the two will see less ball than they're used to if they team up in green.

But, part of why Thomas' usage rate was so high was because there were few other offensive options. Hayward brings that scoring surge to the table, averaging just over 21 points per game during this past season.

Whether these concerns exist, when/if he meets with the Celtics in free agency, Brad Stevens will be able to sooth them.

Stats are courtesy of

Follow Topher Lane on Twitter, @Topher_L. Photo credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images.