The Celtics’ pursuit of free agent All-Star forward Gordon Hayward is receiving pushback from an unusual source: Danny Ainge’s own son.
Tanner Ainge, after all, knows where his votes are.
Ainge is running for Congress in Utah’s Third District, a seat vacated by the mid-term resignation of Jason Chaffetz.
So while his father is the Celtics president of basketball operations and his brother, Austin, is the team’s director of player personnel, Tanner Ainge wants Hayward, a highly coveted free agent, to stay with the Utah Jazz.
During an NBC Sports Radio podcast that was posted Friday, Ainge said of his father, “I just wish he would keep his hands off of Gordon Hayward here in Utah.”
Hayward is a focus of the Celtics’ offseason.
All-Star Paul George, whom the Celtics had been looking to acquire for the past year, was dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday in a trade that shook the NBA.
In another Friday deal, the Los Angeles Clippers locked up Blake Griffin, another All-Star Boston was rumored to be interested in, for five years.
Hayward, however, is still available. He is scheduled to visit the Celtics on Sunday.
On the podcast, Tanner Ainge was asked which his father would prefer: a congressional win for his son or Boston landing Hayward.
“Anyone who knows anything about my dad knows that he’s going to try to win,” Ainge said.
He said he hasn’t spoken with his father about this summer’s NBA free agency.
Citing Utah’s lower tax rates, Ainge, a Republican who is facing two opponents in the special election primary, said Hayward could make more money there. It’s not the first time he’s made that point. Earlier this week, Ainge tweeted a link to a story about the Massachusetts Legislature recently passing a so-called “millionaire’s tax” amendment.
“@gordonhayward: something to consider over the next few days . . . #takenote,” he wrote in the tweet.
@gordonhayward: something to consider over next few days... #takenote https://t.co/bqyEtXvnKO— Tanner Ainge (@tannerainge) June 29, 2017
“We don’t want our stars leaving. Why would they want to? It’s a great place to live,” Ainge said on the podcast.
Ainge said he ultimately did not think Hayward’s free agency would have any effect on the congressional race.
“At the end of the day, when people are actually going into the voting booth, I think they care about the economy, they care about our national debt, they care about values,” he said. “They’re not voting based on sports, but it’s fun to talk about.”
The primary election for Utah’s Third District Congressional race is Aug. 15. The general election is slated for Nov. 7.
Listen to the full interview here: