Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward will travel to Orlando and enter the NBA's "bubble" with his teammates this month, but he is prepared to leave Orlando when his wife, Robyn, gives birth to their fourth child. Robyn is due in September, which would be right in the midst of Boston's playoff push.
"There'll be a time if and when we're down there and she's going to have the baby, I'm for sure going to be with her," Hayward said, via ESPN. "We'll have to cross that bridge when we get there."
Hayward would be permitted by the league to leave the bubble for the birth of his child, but doing so would lead to an extended absence from on-court action. Any player that leaves Orlando will have to test negative for COVID-19 each day that he is outside of Orlando, and then he would have to self-quarantine for four days after returning. For Hayward though, the decision to leave the team to be with his wife is an easy one.
"It's a pretty easy decision for me on that," Hayward said. "I've been at the birth of every one of my children, and I think there are more important things in life. So we'll cross that bridge when we get there... I know the NBA has a protocol for that type of thing, and hopefully I can do the quarantining and testing the appropriate amount of time and then be back with the boys."
For Hayward, the decision to leave his family for an extended period of time was a difficult one to begin with. However, the opportunity to pursue a championship with his teammates was one that he ultimately didn't want to pass up.
"I think for a lot of people in the NBA, a difficult decision as far as leaving family, especially if you have little kids," Hayward said. "This is a unique experience that's about to happen, because although we are on the road a lot during the year, you do get time to come home. Maybe maximum eight, nine, 10 days on the road before you're home. And so being gone for a lot longer certainly is going to be tough. It's going to be hard; there's no doubt about it.
"I think leaving the girlies is gonna be really hard and for sure a sad day for me. I think they're old enough to the point where they do understand what's going on, and we've tried to explain to them that I'm gonna be gone for a little while. It's something where I think it is what it is. I think the opportunity to compete for a championship and play for a title is something a lot of us NBA players want to do. We want to go down there and continue the season and try to finish something that we've worked for all year. So I think there's definitely a lot to think about."
Boston would certainly miss Hayward if he were to leave, especially in the middle of the team's postseason push, but some things are indeed bigger than basketball. The Celtics are a decently deep team, and they have a lot of experience playing without Hayward as he missed 19 games during the regular season due to injury issues. So if it comes down to it, they can rely on that experience. They will just need everyone else -- especially the other perimeter players like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Semi Ojeleye -- to step up when Hayward is out of the picture.