Now, the Utah center is expanding on precisely what bothered him.
Gobert, via Zach Lowe of ESPN:
“I could feel it,” Gobert says. “I was texting him a few days before [Hayward’s July 4th decision], and he wasn’t texting me back. That’s what I didn’t like. Just tell me. After five years, trust us, say what you are going to do. But I respect his choice.”
At that point, Hayward had to look out for himself. Talking to Gobert could have clouded his thoughts.
Even just informing Gobert before announcing his decision risked it leaking. As tight as Hayward kept his circle, the announcement still got bungled. The more people who know a secret, the more likely it is to be exposed.
I thought Kevin Durant set a good line in 2016, when he said he needed to distance himself from the Thunder during free agency. But he still ended up having dinner with Russell Westbrook and Nick Collison before signing with the Warriors. This is hard. Hurt feelings are nearly inevitable.
In this case, they were Gobert’s.