The excitement around the Boston Celtics this season is palpable, as the squad has made some big moves this offseason in the hopes of challenging the Cleveland Cavaliers for Eastern Conference supremacy.
After signing former Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward in free agency, the Celtics made a big trade to land star point guard Kyrie Irving from the Cavaliers after he demanded a trade.
Pairing Irving and Hayward with center Al Horford, the Celtics now have a new big three heading into the 2017-18 season.
On Sunday, the two new Boston stars took the court together for the first time, much to the delight of the home crowd. As you can see below, Boston fans were happy to see their new superstars come out of the tunnel for the first time:
It was an open practice event on Sunday, but the team will kick off its preseason schedule on Monday night at home against the Charlotte Hornets.
According to Celtics.com, Hayward said this moment is why he chose to sign with Boston this offseason:
“Getting the chance to be in the Garden, see some fans... this is why I wanted to be here,” Hayward told the Boston media. “So I could be amongst the people of Boston and wear the Celtics jersey.”
Boston fans have embraced Hayward and Irving since the additions of the star players, and that love is only going to increase with every win.
Irving added that there's a long road ahead of the Celtics, but he's happy with the way it has started so far:
“It’s just an enjoyable experience,” Irving reflected to the media. “This is Day 1 of a long road ahead, of a long journey for all of us going through it together.”
Irving and Hayward will be counted on to help the Celtics improve upon last year's record and also to lead them past the Cavs in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Hayward said the chemistry on the court will be a work in progress, but he's excited to see how his new team performs in its first action against another team.
“The more and more that we play together, the easier it will be and the better we’ll become,” said Hayward. “That’s why tomorrow is going to be good, because we’re going against another team, instead of your own players who know the plays and know exactly what you’re trying to run. So it will give us a little bit of a gauge to see where we’re at.”
The reaction to Irving and Hayward taking the court is sure to be even bigger on Monday night when they actually play a preseason game, and it will likely be bigger still when they take the court for their first regular-season game.