BOSTON

Gordon Hayward was looking forward to playing with Isaiah Thomas, one of the Celtics players who recruited him to Boston during his whirlwind free agency.

By the time Hayward steps on the parquet floor, though, there will be another All-Star point guard dishing out the ball.

Thomas is out, shipped to Cleveland in a package that brought Kyrie Irving to Boston and completed — for now, at least — a near-total makeover of the team that had the best record in the Eastern Conference last year.

But that doesn’t mean Hayward is disappointed that the team he is going to play with looks much different from the one he thought he had joined.

“You’re talking about two superstar players, two incredible offensively talented players,” Hayward said Monday at the Celtics media day.

“It would have been amazing to have the opportunity to play with I.T. I was looking forward to that; that was something that was enticing and exciting about the Boston Celtics. On the other hand, I get to play with another superstar.”

The Celtics already had had quite the summer after they signed Hayward to a four-year deal worth about $128 million and traded Avery Bradley to clear cap space for him. When Irving asked for a trade, general manager Danny Ainge pounced, shipping out Thomas — a fan favorite and the team’s biggest star — along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round draft pick.

Irving would not say whether he plans to talk to Cavaliers superstar LeBron James about his trade demand, telling reporters: “It’s not anybody else’s business.”

“It’s just really between two men,” he said. “If it happens or not, I’m pretty sure you guys won’t know about it.”

For now, he is worried about his new team.



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