Gordon Hayward on his return: 'Wish we won ... but it was good to see everybody'

Gordon Hayward on his return: 'Wish we won ... but it was good to see everybody'

SALT LAKE CITY – Following the game, Gordon Hayward stood a few feet away from the locker room, chatting it up with onlookers young and not-so-young, an all too common ritual that he had done for years in this building.

That would be one of the few moments when everything seemed as it was.

Because for most of Friday’s game pitting his new team (Boston) against his old one (Utah), there was very little that seemed like old times for Hayward whose Celtics lost 123-115.

Hayward had 13 points and a season-high seven assists, doing so while playing in both games of a back-to-back set which is a first for him as he continues to get back to his old self after spending most of last season rehabbing from a left ankle injury suffered in the season-opener.

But there was little joy for Hayward on this night, one in which he was booed from the opening tip to his final missed shot by the Jazz fans who clearly haven’t quite gotten over Hayward’s decision to sign with the Celtics two summers ago instead of re-upping with the Jazz.

However, the return did allow him to spend some time with Jazz staff members and others in the area that he had befriended during his seven seasons with the team.

“Wish we would have won the game but it was good to see everybody,” Hayward said.

As far as the fans booing him incessantly, Hayward said he wasn’t surprised.

“It’s part of the game,” he said.

Marcus Morris has played against former teams in Houston, Detroit and Phoenix so he understood what Hayward was experiencing on Friday night.

He’s used to getting booed, but that paled in comparison to what Hayward went through on Friday night as some fans even began chanting, “WE DON’T WANT YOU!”

“They were on him tough,” said Morris who came off the Celtics bench to score 16 points. “I think he did well. That was expected so I know he went in there knowing something was coming. I think he handled it well. I just wish we could have got the win for him.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens echoed similar sentiments about how Hayward the night.

“It is what it is. One of the things that we knew coming in was that there was going to be a lot of emotion on their side, fans and everything else," Stevens said. "I thought that he did a lot of good things. Probably not the easiest position to be in but I thought he handled it well from a playing standpoint.”

And now, it’s over.

When Hayward returns to Utah next season, it won’t draw nearly as much attention or interest as it did tonight. It’ll become more about the game itself than the return of one of the franchise’s all-time leaders in a number of statistical categories.

For Hayward, it’ll be a chance to catch up and reminisce with some of the folks who in their own way, helped shape him into being the player and person he is now.

And that, win or lose, makes coming back something he’ll always look forward to.

“More than anything, I was looking forward to … I spent seven years here,” Hayward said. “I built some really great relationships. I was looking forward to seeing some of those people, maybe dreading just the hoopla of the whole thing. With my injury and everything it’s been a whole year. We’re focusing on our thing, and the Jazz are focusing on their thing, too.”

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Ex-Celtic Kyrie Irving elected as NBPA Vice President

Ex-Celtic Kyrie Irving elected as NBPA Vice President

The National Basketball Players Association's announcement Monday about its new Vice President likely earned an eye roll from Boston Celtics fans.

Brooklyn Nets guard and ex-Celtic Kyrie Irving was appointed as the NBPA's new VP, replacing Pau Gasol. Irving was elected at Monday's annual winter meeting of the Board of NBPA Player Representatives.

"This was the right time for me to run for a leadership position in the NBPA,” said Irving, per the NBPA's official statement. “I have been an observer and a participant in union affairs for a while, but for the most part, I was off on the sidelines, supporting our Executive Committee as they made important decisions.

"At this point in my career, I wanted to join forces with those guys and take a bigger role outside of the basketball court and within our union. I want to help move the union forward with innovative ideas, not only on social issues but also with business ventures into a new space. I am honored to be elected by my peers and I cannot wait to work with everybody to make an impact."

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Irving being selected for a leadership role certainly is ironic considering the questions about his leadership ability during his brief tenure in Boston. Making it even more interesting is he'll join a committee that includes his former C's teammate, Jaylen Brown (VP).

Also on the committee are Oklahoma City Thunder veteran Chris Paul (President), Miami Heat veteran Andre Iguodala (First Vice President), Sacramento Kings forward Anthony Tolliver (Secretary-Treasurer), Charlotte Hornets center Bismack Biyombo, Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum and Nets forward Garrett Temple (Vice Presidents).

Jayson Tatum shares best moments from first All-Star Game on Instagram

Jayson Tatum shares best moments from first All-Star Game on Instagram

Jayson Tatum's maturity on the court this season helped earn him a spot in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Chicago.

But the morning after, the Boston Celtics forward reacted as any 21-year-old kid would: He posted on Instagram.

Here's Tatum recapping his first NBA All-Star Game, in which he added six points, three assists and three steals in 14 minutes for Team LeBron, which defeated Team Giannis 157-155:

"WOW... just played in my first All-Star game! Dreams do come true! Thankful," Tatum wrote in the caption.

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The third-year forward also shared several memorable photos, including a shot of him backing down Celtics teammate Kemba Walker (the starting point guard for Team Giannis) and a picture of him posing with veteran guard Chris Paul.

The relationships Tatum forged (and maintained) at his first All-Star weekend were far more important than his play on the court, and it sounds like budding young star made the most of his opportunity.