Hayward

Celtics guard Gordon Hayward poses for a portrait on Tuesday.

IT’S THAT time of year, folks — that wonderful time where all four of your major sports intersect.

And quietly, while the Red Sox are watching the baseball postseason on the outside and discussing the franchise’s immediate future, the Patriots roll into Washington expected to go to 5-0, the Bruins have begun their quest to get back to the Stanley Cup Final, and …

The new-look Celtics have opened training camp and life after Kyrie Irving and Al Horford has begun.

 Irving is in Brooklyn, Horford is in Philadelphia, Marcus Morris is at Madison Square Garden – nice having all three in the division, right? – Terry Rozier is in Charlotte (and visiting TD Garden for a preseason game Sunday night) and Aron Baynes is in Phoenix.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet your new leader … Kemba Walker.

Irving, who became a problem last year, Horford, Morris, Rozier and Baynes combined to average 65.9 points per game last year. That production has to be replaced – and Walker and Enes Kanter should be able to pick up that slack.

”There’s going to be some growing pains,” Walker says. “I’ve been having some good moments. And then I’ve had some moments when I look … like I’m just out there. But I’m learning. That’s how it’s going to be; that’s how it’s supposed to be in training camp.”

Irving, who became a problem last year, Horford, Morris and Baynes combined to average 56.9 points per game last year. That production has to be replaced — and Walker and Enes Kanter should be able to pick up that slack.

Walker and three new teammates were together at the recent FIBA tournament, but Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart both got hurt, limiting the on-court bonding experience.

Will there be enough rebounding with Horford (6.7), Morris (6.1) and Baynes (4.7) gone? There’s plenty of youth there to help in that department — but a true key for this 2019-20 version is Gordon Hayward in his second year back from that horrific leg injury.

Smart, talking about Walker, who will lead this team, said, “He’s ready to learn. He knows he’s coming into a different system. But for him to be able to look himself in the mirror…He’s still willing to take a back seat right now from the guys who have been here, (it) is something that helps us as a team.”

Williams impresses

Grant Williams is part of the rookie crop head coach Brad Stevens hopes can contribute right out of the gate — and Williams has already shown Stevens a high basketball IQ.

”It’s really good,” Stevens said of the 6-foot-7 Williams. “Like any other player he has a lot to learn about the NBA, the night-in, night-out challenges and all that comes with playing each team. As far as coming in and doing things and picking things up quick, from a strategy standpoint and also from an intuitive standpoint, he’s pretty impressive.”

The rookies and the rest of the roster will be working with a coaching staff that has now grown to eight (it’s actually 12 when you count on-court specialists) … a far cry when Red Auerbach used to sit alone with a trainer on the bench when lighting his victory cigar.

“We decided to do that because especially with pre-practice stuff that we do, it’s really organized, and we can always have coaches in action,” Stevens tells the Boston Globe. “So we can have three players on the court with three coaches defending and those types of things. It helps to make drills more game-like.”

Looking around

Pace of play? Friday night’s ALDS in the Bronx took 4 hours, 15 minutes. There were 13 pitchers, 25 strikeouts, 14 walks, a hit batter and five home runs. Torture to watch. …

Zdeno Chara starts his 14th season as the Bruins captain, making him the fifth player in NHL history to serve at least 14 seasons as captain of the same team. Steve Yzerman (Detroit, 20 years), Joe Sakic (Quebec/Colorado), Ray Bourque (Boston) and Daniel Alfredsson (Ottawa) are the others. …

Odell Beckham Jr., who will be in Foxborough with the Browns Oct. 27, is tired of getting fined for equipment violations. “I think it’s crazy. ... The NFL finds ways to just take it. They’re going to take it from you,” he says. …

The San Jose Sharks ended Las Vegas’ season thanks to a controversial call in Game 7 of last year’s playoffs. Well, the Knights got some revenge, sweeping an opening home and home with two wins by a 9-2 count — and also registering the only three shorthanded goals of the opening days of the season. …

ABC has Sunday’s Game 3 of the WNBA five-game finals, with the Connecticut Sun returning home after splitting the first two games in Washington. League MVP Elena Delle Donne has a big injury that forced her out of most of Game 2 and has been diagnosed with a herniated disc. She is doubtful for Game 3. …

Horrible news: Ray Lewis was forced to quit “Dancing With The Stars” because of an injury (insert favorite white suit quip here). …

Friday night’s win was the Yankees’ 11th straight in the postseason over the Twins and raised their record against Minnesota to 101-37 since 2002. ..

Nice to be reminded the past few days: 3-on-3 NHL overtime is my favorite thing in sports. …

Jaylen Brown says he isn’t in a rush to get a rookie extension contract. “I’m not putting too much thought into it,” he said. “I’m not losing any sleep over it. I think stuff like that will work itself out in the end.” …

The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, whose postseason record dropped to 9-11, with a 4.33 ERA (he’s 169-74 in the regular season) Friday night, hit two batters in the first two innings of his loss to Nats — matching his total for the regular season. …

Kyle Van Noy, who has been brilliant for the Patriots so far this season (missing a game for the birth of a child), revealed to The Athletic he was a longtime sufferer of sleep apnea. “When I fell asleep, I would wake up gasping for air,” he said. “I felt like my heart would stop. I felt like I was dying.” Extensive study and work and a CPAP machine have helped him get the proper rest. …

Mike Foltynewicz and Adam Duvall, the heroes in Atlanta’s NLDS win Friday, were both banished to the minors during the season. …

Also Friday, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash, summing up his team’s opening loss to the Astros, said, “We got (Justin) Verlandered.”

Patrick Chung, Rex Burkhead and Ben Watson are all out of Sunday’s game for the Pats. …

ProFrootballTalk’s Mike Florio says Patrick Mahomes is the ONLY untouchable player in the NFL. “I think everybody in the league except Patrick Mahomes is tradable,” Florio told 98.5. “Because look at it this way, if somebody were to offer Bill Belichick three first-round picks right now for Tom Brady, he’d take it. Right? If you offer the Chiefs three first-round picks right now for Patrick Mahomes, they’d say, ‘You’re crazy.’” …

   Cardinals rookie Ryan Helsey, a member of Cherokee Nation, isn’t thrilled with Atlanta’s annoying Tomahawk Chop. “I think it’s a misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Just depicts them in this kind of caveman-type people way who aren’t intellectual. They are a lot more than that. It’s not me being offended by the whole mascot thing. It’s not. It’s about the misconception of us, the Native Americans, and it devalues us and how we’re perceived in that way, or used as mascots. The Redskins and stuff like that. That’s the disappointing part. “That stuff like this still goes on. It’s just disrespectful, I think.” He’s right. …

   The 0-4 Redskins, who start Colt McCoy Sunday, are 31st in the NFL in rushing, 29th in points, 28th in yards and 16th in passing prior to becoming the Patriots’ latest victim. The ‘Skins have been outscored 118-66. …

   Division III Grinnell College, down 11 players to 28 because of injuries and outscored 114-3 in its first three games, cancelled the rest of the season. …

   From my pal Marly Rivera of ESPN: One of the most baffling firings by the #RedSox. A bilingual coach (Andy Barkett speaks perfect Spanish!) who got a career year out of Rafael Devers... I hope his phone is ringing right now.” …

   Former NFLer Percy Harvin: “Yeah I smoked weed before every NFL game to deal with anxiety. It was a better option and worked better for me than the medications the doctors had me on. I was high during every game of my career and it helped me!” I often wonder how these guys handle all the pain. …

   Celtics rookie Tremont Waters is in his first camp and still dealing with the suicide of his dad in the summer. …

   Antonio Brown is filing $91 million of grievances against the Raiders and Patriots and precedent says the Pats may well be on the hook for his $9 million signing bonus. …

   Nice to see David Ortiz back on television working for FOX in their postseason stuff. …

   From @SoxNotes: “Brandon Workman held opponents to a .123 batting average in 2019 (29-for-235). That is the lowest mark for any pitcher since 1900 (min. 60.0 IP). His .166 opponent slugging % is the lowest in the expansion era (1961-2019).” …

   And … “This is the first time the Red Sox have ever featured 3 players with 30+ HR and a .300+ AVG in a season. They are only the 10th team ever to do that (last: 2004 Cardinals).J.D. Martinez – .304, 36 HR; Xander Bogaerts – .309, 33 HR; Rafael Devers - .311, 32 HR.”

   Belichick EXPOUNDING on the signing of kicker Mike Nugent: “Mike's got a lot of experience. We felt like he was the best option.” As far as Nugent having cold-weather experience, Belichick said, “He's an experienced kicker that's kicked in New York, kicked in Cincinnati. I don't know if that's going to be a big factor this week. We're just worried about this week right now. We'll worry about December in December, but it doesn't hurt that he's done that.” …

   Carlos Beltran has emerged as a name in the Mets’ managerial picture, but somehow I think it will be Joe Girardi.

   The NHL says 23 percent of its players are 23 or younger. … 

   Thanks to the great Bill Chuck for a chart of players on postseason rosters who have never been in a World Series (their regular season games in parentheses): Nick Markakis (2,117), Edwin Encarnacion (1,916), Ryan Braun (1,727), Russell Martin (1,693), Ryan Zimmerman (1,689) and Asdrubel Cabrera (1,660). Braun will have to wait at least one more year. …

   Really don’t like to say this, but Alex Rodriguez made a valid points after the Rays defeated the A’s to advance. “No fans show up (at the Trop) but players play and players win,” he said. …

   Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is 14-2 on Monday Night Football. …

   Re: Jack Edwards and his comment on the injured Roman Polak – even Edwards himself referred to him having “no filter” later in the game. …

   From USA Today’s Bob Nightengale: “MLB attendance was down about 2% this season but national TV ratings were up: TBS (10%), FOX (8%) and ESPN Sunday night (2%).” Translation: it’s cheaper to stay home and watch. …

   Archie Manning says his grandson, Arch, who is in high school, is “ahead of Peyton and Eli” at this stage. …

   MLB stat guy Jim Passon lists the last time team have finished with the worst record in the AL. The Red Sox are the runaway leaders, dating all the way back to 1932. The Yankees go back to 1990. …

   Love this from WAAF radio voice Jason Rossi: Since Trent Dilfer claimed the Patriots “aren’t good anymore” 5 years ago today, They have: Gone 62-17 in the regular season;

Gone 12-2 in the playoffs; Been in 5 straight AFC title games; Been in 4 out of 5 Super Bowls; & won 3 Super Bowls.”

   If Steve Pearce indeed retires, he leaves with a Dave Henderson place in Red Sox history. …

   Patrice Bergeron, the ultimate leader on a hockey team, gave young players not with the team his cell number in case they have any questions while down there. “Always something I try to do (for them), to be there, you know,” Bergeron said. “I’ve always said, they have my cell phone, they can reach me any time.”

   Hey, Devers is the first third baseman in NFL history to have at least 200 hits, 50 doubles, and 30 home runs in a season. …

   Finally, big news: Tom Brady has lowered the asking price on his local mansion from $39.5 million to JUST $33.9. …