For the last few months potential Utah Jazz free agent small forward Gordon Hayward has been linked to the Boston Celtics. The team has his former college coach Brad Stevens, plenty of cap room and is in need of another All-Star player. The potential acquisition of Hayward has also been viewed as an important piece of the upcoming offseason for the Celtics. Now, Celtics stars isaiah thomas and Al Horford have both started to follow Hayward on Instagram.

Thomas and Horford start the pitch online

With NBA free agency starting next month, players know that their online activity will be closely followed by the media and fans for potential signs of who may move where.

Boston Celtics fans have hoped for months that All-Star Gordon Hayward would decide to join their team. Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas, who is a self-proclaimed free-agent recruiter extraordinaire, decided to start following Hayward on Instagram yesterday. Thomas then must have passed on the message to last year's prized free agent acquisition, Al Horford. Today, Horford also started to follow Hayward on Instagram as the team begins to make their subtle pitch to the free agent.

Gordon Hayward and free agency

It is not guaranteed that Gordon Hayward will become a free agent, as he would have to opt out of the last year of his contract to become one. However, everyone around the NBA fully expects him to opt out and become a free agent, regardless of if he ends up resigning with the Utah Jazz or goes elsewhere in free agency.

The most that the Celtics or any other team could offer him would be a four-year contract worth a total of $132 million, about $33 million per year. In contrast, the Utah Jazz could offer him a five-year, $179 million contract for almost $36 million per year. The Jazz would also have the benefit of being able to give him a player option for that fifth year.

Is Hayward already leaning towards going green?

Three days ago, before Isaiah Thomas or Al Horford followed Gordon Hayward on Instagram, Celtics fans and the NBA were already buzzing about Hayward going to the Boston Celtics for a different reason. Robyn Hayward, who is the wife of Gordon, posted a picture on Instagram of their daughter wearing a shamrock shirt that said 'go green.' Naturally many, especially Celtics fans, took this as a major hint about Hayward's desired destination.

The comments section of the photo was swarmed with comments and it has since been deleted.