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Caught off guard by Sixers' deadline trade, Springer enjoying early days with Celtics

Caught off guard by Sixers' deadline trade, Springer enjoying early days with Celtics originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Tyrese Maxey was perfectly fine fraternizing with the enemy before the Sixers’ Tuesday night matchup against the Celtics.

The team’s trip to Boston meant Maxey could catch up with former teammate Jaden Springer.

“I saw him yesterday,” Maxey said. “He came to the hotel, said what’s up. I gave him a hug tonight. I really wish the best for him, honestly. Of course I hope they lose when they play us, as always. He’s worked extremely hard. …. He’s a competitor.  And I appreciate him allowing me to be in his ear. I wanted him to be extremely aggressive while he was here — shoot the ball, play your game.

“He’s a year younger than me. I watched him play a lot in high school and I know what he’s capable of doing. He’ll definitely have a great career. And man, I love that dude.”

Springer ended up making his third Celtics appearance, playing the last two minutes of a double-digit win. While he’s currently outside of his new team’s rotation, Springer has only experienced victories so far with the 46-12 Celtics.

Recalling the deal that sent him to Boston minutes before the trade deadline, the 21-year-old guard admitted he didn’t see the move coming. Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey opted to trade away Springer and acquire a 2024 second-round pick (the most favorable between the Bulls’ and Pelicans’).

“I was kind of surprised,” Springer said pregame. “It caught me off guard, but I’m OK with the decision they made. It’s fine with me. I’m happy to be here.”

Springer shared positive memories of his time as a Sixer and said he’s “always going to be grateful” that the team gave him his first chance in the NBA.

The 28th overall pick in the 2020 draft had been receiving regular rotation for the shorthanded Sixers in late January and early February. His jump shooting was still a big-picture question mark, but Springer played downright excellent defense at times against stars like Luka Doncic and Stephen Curry.

“Out of nowhere!” Springer said of his reaction to the trade. “I’m like, ‘Man, what?’ A new organization, a new team.’ It was crazy.”

As Springer’s acclimated to Boston, he’s appreciated having familiar faces on head coach Joe Mazzulla’s staff. Springer is back together with Celtics assistant coach Sam Cassell and player enhancement coach Tyler Lashbrook.

“It's pretty cool,” Springer said. “Coming into the league, those are the guys I worked with. To be able to come back and learn from them and work with them has been great.”

As Springer settles in, being part of a stable, healthy team rattling off win after win is clearly nice as well.

“The whole team is all together,” he said. “They all like each other, all hang out. It’s all great here. Just being around these guys, you can pick up on their energy.

“Everybody is open and willing to talk, teach and help you learn. It’s been good.”