Celtics players detail how they first heard about blockbuster Kyrie Irving trade

Celtics players detail how they first heard about blockbuster Kyrie Irving trade

Celtics fans were feverishly updating their phones this summer on beaches across New England as the team overhauled almost its entire roster. 

The players themselves were in a similar boat. 

In a feature story, ESPN’s Chris Forsberg chronicles perhaps the wildest summer in Celtics history. The club replaced nearly its entire roster, highlighted by the Gordon Hayward signing on July 4 and Isaiah Thomas-Kyrie Irving swap the following month. At one point, general manager Danny Ainge was negotiating the trade inside of a dunk tank in Provo, Utah, at a political campaign event for his son. 

When the Celtics acquired Hayward, they needed to move at least one player in order to clear the appropriate cap space. Over the subsequent 72 hours, assistant general manager Mike Zarren was glued to his phone, carrying a batter pack in his front pocket at all times. The Celtics eventually settled on trading Avery Bradley to the Pistons in exchange for Marcus Morris. The only problem is, Bradley was on a flight from Texas to Seattle. He didn’t turn on his Wi-Fi until late in the flight, and found out he was heading to Detroit by Googling his name. 

It’s no secret Thomas was shocked when the Celtics traded him to the Cavaliers in August. But guard Marcus Smart was equally dumbfounded. Smart told Forsberg he thought the entire ordeal resembled a scary movie. 

“It was one of those things where you had to kinda sit there and wait,” Smart said, per ESPN. “It was kind of like a horror movie. ‘Don’t go behind that door!’ You hear that music and it’s like, ‘OK, what’s going to happen next?’”

Al Horford, who seldom uses social media, was at a Braves game with his family when the trade went down. 

“I’m walking through the parking lot and people are just like, ‘Did you hear? Did you hear?'” he told Forsberg. “I’m with my family and I’m not much of a phone guy; I had my phone put away. But everyone is telling me, ‘You guys traded for Kyrie!’ I was on my way to watch the game and people told me before I could even get a chance to look at the phone.”

Horford says he knew it was official when Brad Stevens texted him, because he never hears from the head coach that way.

This is the most anticipated Celtics season since the first year of the New Big Three era. It was all set up by a frenzied two-month stretch that won’t be forgotten any time soon. 

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