Ainge recognizes 'huge sacrifices' Irving, Hayward made to become Celtics

Ainge recognizes 'huge sacrifices' Irving, Hayward made to become Celtics

BOSTON – There were lots of factors that played a role in Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving winding up as Boston Celtics.

But money, at least on their part, wasn’t among them.

In fact, both players left significant sums of money on the table to become Boston Celtics, a point that is not lost on Danny Ainge, the team’s president of basketball operations.

“Kyrie walked away from a huge trade kicker and could have demanded, easily,” Ainge said in an exclusive interview following the press conference introducing Hayward and Irving. “He was so excited to come to Boston, he was willing to do that in a second.”

MORE: VIDEO: 1-on-1 interviews with Irving, Hayward and Ainge

Irving’s contract has three years remaining with the third year a player option, and is worth as much as $60.2 million with the first two years worth $38.9 million.

His deal includes a 15 percent trade kicker which is applicable to the first two of the three years left on his deal, because option years – the third year in his deal - are not included in trade kickers.

Hayward was an unrestricted free agent this summer, choosing to sign a four-year, $127.8 million deal with the Celtics rather than re-sign with the Jazz who were willing to pay him a max-salary that would have provided him with an additional year on his contract and $44.5 million in salary.

And had Hayward been named to one of the league’s all-NBA teams, he would have been eligible for the NBA’s designated player exception which could have potentially provided him a salary similar to the four-year, $170 million extension Washington’s John Wall agreed to this summer.

While Hayward acknowledged it was a significant difference salary-wise, “for me it wouldn’t have mattered,” he said. “I still turned down a whole lot ($44-plus million to stay in Utah). That’s still a significant amount of money as well.

Hayward added, “for me it was about winning and competing for a title. That’s what I wanted to do. I don’t think it would have mattered.”

Said Ainge: “Both of those guys made huge, huge sacrifices. To ask them to do more would be risky on our part. They were doing what I thought was fair game and very grateful that both of them chose to come here and make those sacrifices.”

Agent doesn't expect Gordon Hayward to return this season, but foresees full recovery


Agent doesn't expect Gordon Hayward to return this season, but foresees full recovery

PHILADELPHIA --  Only hours removed from surgery to repair a dislocated left ankle and fractured fibia injury, Gordon Hayward’s agent tells NBC Sports Boston that his client is already attacking the rehab process.
“We expect him to have a full recovery,” agent Mark Bartelstein said via phone Thursday.
That said, Bartelstein also noted that it’s unlikely that the 6-foot-8 forward will return to action this season.
“We don’t have a timetable or anything like that for him,” Bartelstein said. “It’s about getting better, healthier every day.”
The Celtics released a statement Thursday afternoon indicating Hayward underwent successful “bony and ligamentous stabilization surgery for the fracture dislocation of his left ankle.”
Performing the surgery was Drs. Mark Slovenkai and Brian McKeon at New England Baptist Hospital, with Dr. Anthony Schena assisting followed by consultations with Dr. David Porter of Methodist Sports Medicine in Indianapolis.
Hayward suffered the injury in the first quarter of Boston’s 102-99 loss at Cleveland on Tuesday when he was attempting to catch a lob pass from Kyrie Irving.
On the play, Hayward landed awkwardly on his ankle, which contorted in a way where it was clear immediately that he would be out of action for a significant amount of time.
Since the injury, Hayward has received an amazing amount of outpouring of well-wishes and prayers from Kobe Bryant, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski and a cast of other current and former athletes. Both Edelman and Gronkowski know all too well about the challenges associated with returning to play after an injury.
"Go into rehab just like you go into anything else: dominate it," Gronkowski said. "Come back when you feel ready. Come back when you’re 100 percent. He wouldn’t be where he is now if he wasn’t a hard worker.”
And then there are the Celtics fans, whose support has been impressive.
Hayward delivered a pre-recorded message to the fans at the TD Garden that was aired on the Jumbotron high above half court prior to Wednesday night’s game against Milwaukee. Even after the video ended, there was no escaping Hayward’s presence was still very much in the building and on the minds of fans.
At one point in the 108-100 Celtics loss on Wednesday, Boston fans began a “Gor-don Hay-ward!” chant that soon swept its way throughout the TD Garden.
“It has been a bit overwhelming the amount of support that Gordon has received,” Bartelstein said. “It touched him in so many ways. The outpouring he got, certainly all the fans in the arena last night, from players around the league … it meant the world to him. And obviously, going through something like this, it’s devastating. So, to see so many reach out to him, it means the world to him and his family; there’s no doubt about it.”