After a week of uncertainty, the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers came to an agreement to send Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, the Brooklyn Nets 2018 pick and a 2020 2nd rounder to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving.
On Friday, Irving joined Gordon Hayward on stage for a press conference to meet the Boston Celtics’ media.
Transcribed for CLNS Media by Mike Walsh
AINGE: Thank you everybody for being here. We’re very excited today to introduce you to Gordon -- Gordon talked to some of you over the phone, for all sort of different circumstances it was challenging. He came out from San Diego across the country twice with the idea of meeting our media, it just didn’t work out. We’re glad to have him here with us.
His family just landed late, late last night. His two little girls are probably sleeping right now and unable to be with us. We welcome them to boston as well.
Kyrie is filming a movie down in Atlanta, Uncle Drew. His strength coach calls it an hour and a half commercial.
We welcome Kyrie’s people [FEED CUTS OUT]
WYC: Just to say on behalf of the Celtics since 1946 we’ve been a championship-driven organization and we’ve added two players here who are championship quality players on the court and championship quality people off the court. The more I’ve gotten to know them recently, the more i’ve watched them over their careers, the qualities of their intense desire to be the best they can be on and fo the court, makes me convince that they are a great fit for Celtic pride and for our drive towards banner 18. So I just want to personally welcome and thank Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving for joining the Celtics organization.
TAYLOR SNOW CELTICS.com: Kyrie said wants to be in a place maximize your potential, why is Boston that place?
KYRIE IRVING: Before we dive into the importance of why we’re all here, I want to appreciate everyone here on the stage and the opportunity that is in front of us to go after something that is bigger than ourselves.
I just wanted to say, sometimes we get lost in these two hoops and a basketball, the most humane things that make us human, we lose track of sometimes and I wanted to take the time now to wish my well energy and heartfelt to Jae Crowder and his mother, cuz that is a hard situation to go through, especially when he gets wrapped up in all this, as well as IT’s sister, and as well as those affected in Charlottesville and Houston, that is all reality-based and I live in that world.
This is basketball and perfecting my craft is very important to me. But outside of this game I live a very much real life. I appreciate all the people around me,as well as all the human beings I wind up meeting. I just wanted to come out and say that my appreciation for this world goes deeper than a lot of people realize. I take my respects for all those people, as well as anyone affected by anything, we’re all here with you and my prayers are with you.
Getting an opportunity to be apart of such an illustrious organizations, such as the Boston Celtics. I grew up watching so many different films, I asked Danny at dinner if I could get a few of those VHS tapes of those championship runs that they had.
When you have the unique opportunity of having special people and being a part to be a part of an organization like this, they do everything possible to put themselves out there to make such a great thing happen, you’re just appreciative and grateful and I can’t wait to get on the floor and maximize my potential.
I just want to be around those incredible coaches and incredible minds and individuals, and I feel like in doing that, Boston came right at the exact time and it was meant to be that way, and I trust in that.
SNOW: Gordon do you feel similar?
GORDON HAYWARD: Similar to what Kyrie said, just the people that are here in this organization with the history they have. Coach Stevens. I think that I’ve only scratched the surface of what I can become, and being here, with the city and the fans, it is really exciting to be here, I think it is going to be a great year.
AP: Reference your video to Cleveland
KI: When you get drafted into this great league, some of us come in at different ages, as a 19 year old kid, finishing my first year of college, my freshman year and life hits, you go to different hotels……..
It took a few things for me to go through in Cleveland for me to understand that. Learning the hard way, we’re all human beings we’ve all been through a few hard times that have changed the landscape of the way you think and feel.
It was my time to do what was best for me in terms of my intentions and that is going after something bigger than myself, honestly, being in an environment that is conducive to my potential. I think that statement is pretty self-explanatory, it is pretty direct in terms of my intentions and to be with a group of individuals that I can grow with.
That’s not a knock on anything that transpired in my six years, because it was an unbelievable experience and to think about what we accomplished in Cleveland and individually as well, it bypasses all the moments that I have with the special people out there. Me leaving there wasn’t about basketball, it was more or less about leaving that foundation there in Cleveland and
Taking this next step as a 25 year old evolving man and basketball player.
GOODMAN ESPN: Everybody wanted to know why you left Cleveland. What was the biggest issue that you felt was holding you back from reaching your potential.
KI: I wouldn’t call it issues. It is exactly what I just said, and that is what it will always be because that is my intent. It was an unbelievable journey, unbelievable ride. I just knew that I wasn’t going to come up here to specifically point at individuals or what issues here, That’s not important to me at all.
It’ll be an unbelievable experience for something new. To be in a place like this, where everyone will gravitate not only to us as individuals, but as a collective group and as a team, and they’ve done it the past years before us and will do it years after us, and I just wanted to be a part of that.
??????????: City is loyal to a core, how do you guys plan to deal with both sides of fandom in Boston?
GH: I think we’ve been in this league long enough to realize that it is like that way in a lot of places. What’s special about here is that it seems like they are pretty educated sports fans, so they know a bit more.
For me individually I try not to get too high on the highs or low on the lows, because it can change pretty quickly, either way. I try not to look at what outside people think, we look at who’s in the locker room. We believe in ourselves and keep it moving.
MARTINEZ NBC BOSON: Gordon accepted deal with Isaiah and Jae, what goes through mind now with IT gone?
GH: IT did a tremendous job helping recruit me here. He talked about Boston, the city and the fans and the organization, the coaches and the people involved behind the scenes. He was someone I was definitely excited to play with. He’s an unbelievable player, had an unbelievable year last year, I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t the truth.
I’ve been in this business long enough to realize it is a business. Things happen and change. To go from that opportunity of playing with IT and the rest of those guys, to getting to play with Kyrie Irving, one of the best basketball players in the league. Another great opportunity for me. Same thing as the other players go, Jae Crowder tremendous basketball player, unfortunately I won’t get the chance to play with him, but at the same time we get Marcus Morris, Aaron Baynes, Marcus Smart, Rozier, two young guys Jayson and Jaylen, Big Al Horford for sure, who helped recruit me. The opportunity is still there for me. Going through it, it is something I’m just looking at just I’m excited about coming here, moving to Boston, bringing my family here and I’m thrilled to get the season going.
????????: Burden of taking on Isaiah Thomas spot as the point guard?
KI: Is there ever such a thing as one person carrying a whole team: I don’t think so.
When you have a collection of individuals that are all having one vision and one goal and collectively getting better every single day. There are a lot of moving parts and you have to depend on those moving parts to do their job and develop an identity that only they will know. It is our job to bring the best out of each other every single day. I think that has been echoed throughout this entire organization as well as the players and that is the tradition here in Boston.
There is no one player, there are some very very special talents. I think that the team gets a little bit more than the players sometimes, even though you do have some hall of famers here, a few. There are a few numbers retired in those rafters, and that appreciation goes a lot deeper because of that team atmosphere. There is no such thing as putting the team on your shoulders. You’ll see some unbelievable things one through 15.
We’ll be just as elated as if it was the first guy, second guy, third guy. That’s the common knowledge that I have in this game that was given to me and the love that I have for it. Being on a special team like that, with special individuals and looking a man in the eye and telling him: You can depend on me. There’s nothing like that.
ROBB BSJ: Trade announced took longer to get finalized. Surprised by Cavs looking.
DANNY: I won’t comment on any of our communication over the last week. It’s private.
TRAGS CLNS: Kyrie, Danny can’t comment. Emotionally for you, what has the last week been like?
KI: I’ve been very patient with the approach. I knew what the intent was when I asked for the trade initially. And I’ve been just patiently waiting.
It was the most human thing I could’ve done, ride the rollercoaster wave of emotions. Honestly, coming off the Finals loss, and not wallowing in my sorrows, but trying to figure out the next step in order to achieve that goal. In doing that I’ve made some decisions in order to take myself and my intent of wanting to be a part of something bigger than myself.
When Boston came a knockin, I was answering, it was pretty awesome how it all transpired . Throughout this process I didn’t say anything, not a word. It was just assumptions and this came from this source and I don’t want to dive into that. I didn’t say anything purposely, because that’s not the real life I live in.
I have a daughter, I have a family that I love dearly, once I knew that the team was going to make a move, I was just patiently waiting. That’s been the approach the whole entire time.
GOODMAN ESPN: Essentially the same question.
KI: Just been patient, man. I had no other choice, I’ve just been patient in my approach and waiting.
Once I knew this illustrious organization had a chance to give me a chance, talking with Danny and Coach Stevens and the ownership group, it made sense. I was just waiting for it to finally happen.
When I was on set and got the call, I probably cursed twice, and then ran out and took a moment out on the street in Atlanta watching the cars pass by. I took in that moment because it really meant something, it was the start of something knew. I knew that I was going to come into contact with some other great individuals and we were going to go after something special.
BOSTON 25 News: Lot of teams to beat, but Cleveland, what is the key to beating a team like that?
KYRIE: From a strategic standpoint, I think Coach Stevens can answer that better.
Everyone as a collective and gone over the important things, until we get to that point, I don’t have a better answer for you.
I’m just happy to get my jersey on this stage, along with Gordon and meet the rest of my teammates over the next few days.
BULPETT HERALD: Brad, 53-win team last year, smashed rubix cube...
STEVENS: That’s one of the things we talk about all the time, each team is it’s own entity. Even when we’ve had more continuity the last few years with more guys back, we still go into the season and have to work on the important things that add up ultimately just to give yourself a chance to win.
I think Kyrie’s answer was really good. We haven’t met yet, obviously, we’re still in the offseason and limited to what we can do. When we have our first team meeting and training camp begins, that’s going to be important because we need to set the tone for building a foundation on both ends of the floor. I think that we have to be, as your know, the most important thing to me is that in Boston we all know what we’re shooting for. That’s a given, that’s what you’re playing under in this facility. But ultimately the path is are you getting better?
The good news about our opportunity is that we get a chance to go to work. We should be excited about our opportunities in hand, we’ve got a lot of good players in the room. We’re all going to have to find out what role we can play in order to help us get better.
You’re thinking about it nonstop. A lot of your stuff you’re finalizing in early august and there’s not much significant change after that, but this is a great challenge, this is part of the challenge of coaching and the most exciting part about coaching is the opportunity to put a team together, and it can only happen if your best players are guys that want to be a part of something special as a group and appreciate and value what everybody brings to the table. You’ve already heard the answers up here. We’re starting off with a great foundation, and I think with these guys and Al and some of our young players, I think it is going to be a fun growth process.
WESTERHOLM MASSLIVE: Playing in Stevens system?
KI: To be honest, I’ve only had the unique opportunity of playing against Coach Stevens the last few years.
BRAD: I coached you in a game in which we gave up 197 points
KI: Well that goes back to playing both ends of the floor.
Now that I get to experience it first-hand how intelligent I’ve heard he is as a coach, as well as his coaching staff. To understand how maniacal he is in terms of the finite details of maximizing what you get out of the players you have on the floor. Looking at it scheme-wise it is a pretty equitable offense in terms of what everyone’s skillset is out on the floor. I think I picked that up in about two minutes in a game we were out there running his plays. He’s always two, three, or give him credit, four steps ahead because it is a constant wave in the game, It can change and go up and down. To understand those frequencies and understand how you still exist and get maximum potential out of who you have on the floor, that’s Coach Stevens. That’s just from an observer standpoint. So, the appreciation I have for his knowledge of the game, I just can’t want to steal some stuff and learn and grow under a guy like that as well the other coaches he has.
D’AMICO: What was Gordon-Kyrie relationship before today
GH: The first thing, is it’s like destiny, we both have the same birthday so this was bound to happen at some point in time.
In 2013 I actually was in Cleveland on a visit as a restricted free agent and Kyrie came in and said how much fun it’d be if I wold be on the team and kind of recruited me. Then LeBron came and that kind of squashed that whole thing, but it came full circle and here we are now.
USA Basketball we played together, I think we’ve always had a good relationship, haven’t spent too much time with him, but looking forward to doing that and learning from him. It’s a good relationship.
ABBY CHIN CSN: How will games complement each other.
KI: This is a bad dude to the left of me. I spent about 20 minutes watching his highlights about two weeks ago. Just seeing where in Utah they were utilizing him, and where he likes his spots, his post-ups, his footwork and also he’s been working with a common guy between us, which is pretty awesome, in LA.
Working on his game and appreciating it. Allowing him to be who he is and never worrying about whether he’s stepping on my toes or I’m stepping on his toes, or stepping on Al’s toes, or T-Ro or Marcus or all these guys. We’re all in this together, and we understand that responsibility of growing this team and making it go will predominantly at times be on us, but at the same time we’re empowering our teammates and elevating them, because this is very real and we’ll be tested in a number of ways.
I can’t wait. The fact that already everyone is putting a lot of pressure on this team that we just put together and we’re just incorporating ourselves into, is step one. That starts Day 1 in training camp and it’ll extend throughout. Our identity will be formed and the existing culture that they already have in Boston will only grow from here.
HALL WHBH 7 NEWS: Coach’s system pushed you towards Boston?
KI: Yeah, you’ve got a smart individual that you can learn the game and be taught, while at the same time growing. Who doesn’t want to be a part of that. It is awesome that I can share knowledge as well as gain knowledge at the same time, not a lot of players get to go through that and it starts with our head coach.
?????: Gordon knew Brad in college, what has changed now?
GH: A lot has changed. I don’t know if I would’ve imagined, 5am workouts at highschool that we’d both be sitting here now.
BRAD: He couldn’t even grow a beard last time I saw him.
GH: I think both of us have grown, for me as a person and basketball player, in college your coach is somewhat more like a father figure, you’re younger and you lean on them a lot and now I’m a father with two little girls of my own.
Just like Kyrie, I grew up in Utah, seven great years there, learning what it takes to be a man and how to provide
[FEED CUTS OUT]
I always had a dream to play in the NBA, but he’s the first person who made me realize I could get there someday. To be reunited with him is beyond exciting and I can’t wait to get to work.
GOODMAN: What is relationship with LeBron
KI: No, haven’t spoken to him. My intent, like I said, was for my best intentions. To look back at the amount of ground we covered in the last three-year span and even before that with a private relationship, to really realize how special that was and how much happened I’d be telling a lie if I said I didn’t learn so much from that guy.
Perfection of the craft comes in a variety of forms. You watch and ask a lot of great players: What does it take to be great.
I’ve had one of the unique opportunities to play with one of the greats and it was awesome. At times it was all over, just like it is with any other team. But, you look back and you’re eternally grateful for the moments that you had and you shared, you’re able to put peace with that journey and start anew.
This was a very, very challenging decision at first, but after a while when you’re a man and you have that confidence in yourself to understand the magnitude of what you can accomplish and can potentially do with other great people. Now that I’m sitting here, it echoes in terms of me just being very appreciative not only to the Cleveland fans, all of Ohio, but as well as LeBron for incorporating me into that special team that we had in Cleveland. Three finals in a row, all the shared memories, I could go down the line of all the guys I played with in Cleveland, but they all know how I feel about them individually, as well as the amount of love we have as a group. Brotherhood exists even without all this. That’s where it is, and I’m very appreciative of it.