Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

National Basketball Association free agency rumors: Knicks are all-in on Kyrie Irving next summer

National Basketball Association free agency rumors: Knicks are all-in on Kyrie Irving next summer

Celtics forward Gordon Hayward says he's been playing full-court, 5-on-5 basketball with "pretty much no restrictions" for two weeks.

Hayward detailed the monotony and mental difficulty of his rehab, noting that while teammates were playing in Miami or Los Angeles previous year, he was driving in frigid temperatures to lift marbles into a bucket with his toes.

The Celtics' top free-agent acquisition of the 2017 summer, Hayward was injured in the first quarter of the first game of the season when he landed awkwardly on his left leg, breaking his tibia and dislocating his ankle.

Next summer's National Basketball Association free agent class is loaded with superstars and A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports told the Bulls Talk Podcast the New York Knicks have the same player listed as their first, second, third and fourth choice: Kyrie Irving. He may have been able to return before the end of the season, but then he needed more surgery in May. "Using these past two weeks, and the next month or so, will be good to kind of get back into the game, feel the rhythm, the timing, different things like that". I will go against the latter.

Speaking at the new practice facility named for Red Auerbach, Hayward said he celebrated each bit of progress - the walking boot coming off, or shooting baskets standing up, instead of sitting in a chair.

"If they're able to get into the playoffs and they're able to make a trade and get a guy like Jimmy Butler then all of a sudden NY becomes a much more attractive destination".

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"Last step is just that last leap", Hayward said Thursday.

"I expect to be out there", he said.

Of course there are certain things that you can't replicate in workouts or practices that he's still going to have to work on.

Hayward averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game in his last season with the Utah Jazz.

Hayward said he gained a lot of confidence from watching the team compete last season, so he's eager to finally join them on the floor.

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