The Celtics got a commitment from free-agent Hayward on July 4 but, because of roster shuffling, didn't formally announce his signing until July 14.
The big question for the Celtics - aside from how the team will fare with all their new pieces - is whether they'll be able to retain Irving long-term.
Still, Irving stunned NBA Nation by marching into the office of owner Dan Gilbert early in the off-season and expressing that he wanted out. The two players, arriving from Utah and Cleveland respectively, spoke at the press conference and Irving addressed the reasons why he left LeBron James in Ohio.
"I cursed probably twice, and then I ran out", Irving said. But the move hit a snag due to uncertainty over Thomas's physical state.
"Of learning the hard way", Irving said. "I think that statement is just self explanatory, because it's pretty direct in terms of what my intent is - it's to be happy and be with a group of individuals that I can grow with". "And my intent [in requesting the trade], like I said, was for my best intentions". "At the same time, a very exciting time (to add) one of the best offensive players in the league". He rejoins Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who coached Hayward in college at Butler. I still can't believe just the feats that we reached in a six-year span, and I'm truly grateful and I'm thankful. Together Ainge hopes they can form a championship core along with Al Horford, the marquee acquisition of last offseason, and youngsters and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Join the Chowder and Champions team!
"We all know in Boston what we're shooting for", he said.
As he closed his video, Irving didn't acknowledge his relationship with James.
"Multiple sources told me that Gilbert is operating under the assumption that LeBron will opt out of his contract next summer and leave Cleveland".
Irving was in Atlanta, filming a documentary, and he said he was on the set when he got the call. But both Boston and Irving share a special connection after all.
It was a partnership that nearly happened in 2013, when Hayward visited Cleveland as a restricted free agent.