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Boston Celtics decline to participate in Utah Jazz Summer League

SALT LAKE CITY — Not that the Utah Jazz and their fans needed more reasons to be disgruntled with Boston after the franchise wooed All-Star Gordon Hayward away last summer and then delivered a punch-in-the-gut win Wednesday night, but the Celtics have given them another one.

Boston will not take part in the Utah Jazz Summer League this July, Celtics coach Brad Stevens confirmed. The Celtics, Spurs and Sixers have each participated in the annual event since the Jazz revived the Rocky Mountain Revue in 2015.

Like the Jazz, the Celtics went from Utah to the even longer NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, giving the teams about two weeks of action. That, Stevens explained, played a major role in his team’s decision to opt out of the Jazz’s league.

“I thought with all the picks we had (in the past), we knew that there were going to be a lot of opportunities for our young players,” Stevens said. “We talked a lot about it in the middle of the year as whether or not we were going to come out. It did feel like at the end of Vegas, it was getting long.”

Last summer, Utah Jazz Summer League attendees got to see Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum play for the Celtics, who had six draft picks on their squad. Boston had four draft picks on its 2015 and ’16 summer league rosters. This year, the Celtics will have their own first-round pick, possibly the Lakers (if it’s between 2-5) and could lose their second-round selection to Oklahoma City if it’s between 56-60.

Stevens noted that Brown and Tatum both sat out games because the Celtics didn’t want them to get too much summer-league action.

“With two picks coming up in this year’s draft,” he added, “it didn’t feel … as important to play as many games.”

If it offers any consolation, Stevens was quite complimentary of Utah's summer hoops gathering.

"This was an incredible place to play summer league," Stevens said. "One of the main reasons to me was how it was like a road game. When you played Utah — whether in the Huntsman Center last year or here (Vivint Arena) a few years ago —right before (Dante) Exum’s second year, this place was rocking.

"That kind of jolts ya in the middle of July," he added, "and I think that was good for our young guys."

The Jazz have not yet announced the dates or participants for the 2018 summer league, but it traditionally is held from the first Monday of July through the first Thursday, which would be July 2-5. The NBA Summer League in Vegas begins on July 6 and runs through July 17.