SALT LAKE CITY – As it turns out, the Celtics’ two resident All-Stars Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford weren’t the only players involved in helping the Celtics land Gordon Hayward.
Jaylen Brown was also among the contingent who spent time with the former Utah Jazz small forward on his visit to Boston on Sunday.
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“I was there at the [practice] facility when Hayward came in,” said Brown who added that he was asked to be there by team officials. “We talked briefly for 10, 15 minutes maybe.”
So you were part of the group that convinced Hayward to leave Utah, huh?
“I guess,” said Brown who is coming off a 29-point, 13-rebound performance in Boston's 89-88 summer league victory over Philadelphia on Monday. “They asked me to be there so I was there. He was going to make his decision what’s best for him, regardless.”
Hayward joins a Celtics team that won 53 games last season and finished with the best record in the East. They would later advance to the Eastern Conference finals before the Cleveland Cavaliers eliminated Boston in five games.
As Brown saw first-hand as a rookie last season, playing for the Celtics brings with it a different brand of pressure and expectations that very few cities match up favorably against.
“It’s a city with a team with a lot of history, big legacy with big shoes to fill,” Brown said. “It’s a team that wants to win; doesn’t settle for less.”
And while all signs point towards Hayward coming in and helping Boston build upon the success of a season ago, only time will tell just how quickly the 27-year-old adapts to his new surroundings.
“He’s a good player, an All-Star last year,” Brown said. “We’ll see what he does this year.”
Last season, Hayward averaged 21.9 points and 5.4 rebounds, both career highs, along with 3.5 assists while shooting 47 percent from the field and just a shade under 40 percent (39.8 to be exact) from 3-point range.
Hayward, who played at Butler under current Celtics coach Brad Stevens, agreed to join the Celtics on the Fourth of July.