The Boston Celtics were conspicuously quiet Thursday, and that might not be a bad thing.
The Celtics’ roster looks the same as it did before the NBA’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, as Boston declined to make any moves outside acquiring big man Greg Monroe on the buyout market. So, why the inactivity?
Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving spoke with reporters Thursday morning before knowing whether his team would make any moves. But his response to a question about playing alongside Gordon Hayward once the C’s forward returns from injury now seems prescient.
“I think about the lineups (with Hayward) all the time,” Irving said at Boston’s shootaround in Washington ahead of its game against the Wizards, via MassLive.com’s Jay King. “I play the what-ifs because I know how talented Gordon is and what he would bring to the table, and how much pressure he would relieve off me and also other guys on this team.
“It’s kind of like having an ace in your back pocket.”
The Celtics indeed have an untapped resource in Hayward, who’s one season removed from averaging 21.9 points per game with the Utah Jazz. Hayward played just five minutes alongside Irving before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in Boston’s season opener, but the thought of adding an All-Star to a C’s team that’s currently in first place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference is very enticing to Irving.
“I just think about big lineups, man. Me, G (Hayward), JT (Jayson Tatum), JB (Jaylen Brown) and Al (Horford). Or it could be me, Terry (Rozier), Gordon, JT (Tatum) and Mook (Marcus Morris). You have so many options to play with, and you could fill in as many other players as you want.”
In short: The No. 1 team in the East could be even more dangerous next season with Hayward in the fold, which might explain why Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge declined to do any more wheeling and dealing ahead of the deadline.
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