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.”

Report: Celtics waive swingman Abdel Nader

Report: Celtics waive swingman Abdel Nader

The Celtics have waived swingman Abdel Nader, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reports. It opens up a roster spot perhaps for Jabari Bird or another player who impressed in Summer League play.

Nader, 24, a native of Egypt, was a second-round pick in 2016 (58th overall). The 6-6 guard/small forward averaged 3.0 points and 1.5 rebounds and shot 33.6 percent (35.4 from 3) in 48 games last season, his first in the NBA.  He's still owed $450,000 but the rest of his contract was non-guaranteed. 



Hayward looks just about ready in latest video

Hayward looks just about ready in latest video

Gordon Hayward told our Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely earlier this week that "I'm just about full speed" (see video above) as he recovers from the devastating injury that derailed his season five minutes into his Celtics debut.

As if to prove it, Hayward posted an Instagram video that shows his surgically repaired ankle appearing to hold up pretty well as he hits a series of step-back and turnaround jumpers working with skills coach Drew Hanlen and finishes with him sinking 18 consecutive 3-pointers and counting.

It's on to five-on-five work next month. 

Click here for more on Blakely's exclusive one-on-one interview with Hayward.