Yesterday, the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers finally officially completed the Kyrie Irving mega-trade before the Thursday morning deadline. The Celtics had to toss in a 2020 second-round pick as compensation for the Cavs being concerned over the state of Isaiah Thomas’ hip injury.
With the trade finally in the rear view mirror, the Celtics could at last formally introduce their two major All-Star acquisitions of the summer together in Kyrie and Gordon Hayward. That took place this morning at a press conference at TD Garden, the team’s stadium. The two players were also joined by general manager Danny Ainge, head coach Brad Stevens, and team co-owners Steve Pagliuca and Wyc Grousbeck.
Of course, one of the main questions that the press wanted to know from Kyrie Irving was about his relationship with now-former teammate and four-time NBA MVP LeBron James. The two men have had a complicated history together and Irving’s trade request in July supposedly upset James greatly.
Irving was not asked about James until the end of the press conference and said that he has not spoken with James since the trade. However, he did say that “I’d be telling you guys a lie if I didn’t tell you how much I learned from that guy.”
He would go on to say that “I’ve had the unique opportunity to play with one of the greats, and it was awesome,” as he also thanked James for their time together. However, the star point guard also did nothing to make people think that his reason for leaving was because of LeBron.
When asked, he passed on telling the press what “specific issues” with the Cavaliers were limiting his growth as a superstar.
However, Irving did say, “Me leaving (Cleveland) wasn’t about basketball.”
He did talk extensively as to why he felt that Boston would be a better fit for his career going forward.
"To be in a place where everyone gravitates to us as a team... I just wanted to be a part of that." -Kyrie on move to Boston pic.twitter.com/hNQGkI4AfB— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 1, 2017
The overall press conference had a lighthearted atmosphere, as Stevens said of Hayward, “He couldn’t even grow a beard the last time I saw him.”
Kyrie also complemented Hayward’s game, saying, “This is a bad dude to the left of me,” as it is clear that the two players already have a great chemistry with each other.
Hayward did take a playful shot at LeBron James when he mentioned taking a visit to Cleveland as a free agent with Kyrie there trying to recruit him. He said that “and then LeBron came in and squashed the whole thing,” prompting laughter from those in the room.
Hayward said later on that “I’m excited to get the season started,” to which Irving replied, “It’s gonna be crazy, G.”
This is certainly a sentiment that Boston Celtics fans, as well as NBA fans in general, likely would agree regarding the upcoming season.
"He couldn't even grow a beard the last time I saw him." -HC Brad Stevens on Gordon Hayward ???? pic.twitter.com/UAmKhrtIAw— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) September 1, 2017
Gordon Hayward is one "bad dude" pic.twitter.com/vUofGvCjW7— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) September 1, 2017
Gordon Hayward on potentially joining the Cavs: "And then LeBron came and squashed that whole thing." ???? pic.twitter.com/N4O1ojdb9f— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 1, 2017
[Featured Image by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images]