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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Danny Ainge: Celtics ‘much, much better’ with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward

Gordon Hayward

The Boston Celtics went on a deeper playoff run than anyone expected, and they did it all without Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving. That has led some fans to wonder if they would be better off trading the former rather than messing with a good thing, but the man who would be in charge of making a move like that believes that talk is silly.

On Sunday, Celtics president Danny Ainge was asked if trading Hayward or Irving will be a consideration this offseason.

“I get a kick out of the fact that, everywhere I go, people don’t think we need Kyrie or need Gordon Hayward,” Ainge said, per ESPN’s Chris Forsberg. “I have a much longer memory and remember how great those guys were and what an effort it took us to get them. I also remember how great they are and how young they are still.

“So we need Gordon and Kyrie, absolutely need them. If this playoff run and all the series of the playoffs didn’t show that, then I don’t know what does. We were able to win some games and we were able to fight through some tough battles, but we’re much, much better with Kyrie and Gordon.”

While it’s true that players like Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown would have had less opportunities to shine if Hayward and Irving were healthy, Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals was quite telling. The Celtics managed just 79 points and proved once again that LeBron James was too much for them to handle.

In addition, Boston didn’t win a single road game against the Cavs and looked like a completely different team when they had to play in Cleveland. Experience has a lot to do with that. With a healthy Irving and Hayward next year, the Celtics should have the perfect balance of exciting youth and seasoned veterans.

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