Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving is hoping to take his partnership with Gordon Hayward beyond just this season, telling reporters Sunday that he hopes to continue developing chemistry with Hayward “not just this year, but a few years down the line,” according to Tom Westerholm of MassLive.
The two star players were brought on board one after the other, as Hayward arrived as a free agent signing shortly after the Boston Celtics traded for Irving.
Having missed nearly all but five minutes of the 2017-18 season, Hayward's contract will roll through the 2020-21 season — making $32.7 million in 2019-20 and a $32.2 million player option he's likely to take for 2020-21.
Hayward had a slow start to the season after coming back from injury, hoping to seamlessly fit in a squad that fell only a game shy of reaching the NBA Finals.
Since, he's shown flashes of brilliance, but has yet to incorporate himself fully, as he's adapted to a sixth man role after the team's slow start.
“I told him, ‘Look for your shot more. Get aggressive and get yourself going because you are a great talent in this league and I don't want you to ever forget that,'” Irving told reporters in November. “Of course, he does a great job of coming off the pick-and-roll and making those passes, but I want him to be aggressive and score the basketball for us as well because we are going to need it down the stretch.”
The Celtics will need both players to develop a successful partnership if they are to reach the NBA Finals this time around, currently in fifth place in a log-jammed Eastern Conference.