Irving missed the final third of last season after requiring knee surgery for an infection inside the troublesome joint, watching on from the sidelines as Brad Stevens’ youthful team roared into the Eastern Conference Finals.
Hayward, meanwhile, sat for the entire year after suffering a gruesome leg break within minutes of his Celtics debut last season.
But the former Utah Jazz man has been filmed dunking this summer and expects to be in contention to feature in Boston’s home opener against the Sixers in October.
With the two All-Stars likely to regain their place in the starting line-up, youngster Brown and Jayson Tatum could see a dramatic reduction in their minutes heading into next season.
And The Ringer’s NBA expert Justin Verrier explained how the two superstars could upset the status quo.
“We are overlooking the meshing of the parts of how Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, after getting a season full of starter minutes because they had to, are going to have to now incorporate Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving into their team,” Verrier said.
“It is a dumb reasoning because you’re like ‘okay, I’m just adding more star power’, so they should be fine. But there is going to be something there where we might see like, is Jayson Tatum unhappy that he is only getting X minutes.
“It is going to be interesting to see whose team it is because I think Tatum is almost ready to take on that mantle but you have Kyrie and Hayward who are the incumbents, if you will.”
Tatum finished the year strongly, becoming the Celtics’ leading scorer during their unexpected run to the conference finals while establishing himself as a capable crunch-time player.
Brown also impressed, offering coach Stevens versatility while playing as either small forward or shooting guard – but Ringer co-host John Gonzalez claimed out of the two, Brown appears the more likely to be sacrificed for Irving and Hayward’s return.
“I’m less concerned about Kyrie and Gordon and Tatum playing together with Horford, that is a killer starting line-up,” Gonzalez said.
“I think they will figure that out. The question is going to be whether or not Jaylen Brown is ready to take a step back to the bench and go ‘okay, I’m going to be your main sixth man’ when he is a guy who doesn’t really seem like he would fancy himself that.”