To hear Al Horford tell it to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Al Horford wanted to stay in Atlanta. That was the plan. But then the Hawks wouldn’t give him the full five-year contract he wanted, he seriously considered other options.
And the Celtics impressed him.
“I think that in Atlanta I was hoping that things would have worked out. Once I saw that things weren’t going to work out, I saw what was going to be the best situation for me to try to win an NBA championship….
“When I took the meetings with the other teams, I met with Boston and other teams as well, when I sat with them I just saw the roster and their vision. There was a lot of impact on me with Danny Ainge and coach (Brad) Stevens. It was a very positive meeting. Two of their owners were in the meeting and three or four of their players were there too. They seemed like a very close group and were focused on what their goal was and they got my attention. I wasn’t sure in what direction I was going to go. But I knew in order to leave Atlanta it was going to take a very special situation.”
What exactly didn’t work out the Hawks?
“It was more from a financial standpoint.”
Horford was the first free agent of note the Celtics have signed since their championship years — not only does he make them better now, the Celtics also hope it opens the door to other signings in the future.
The Hawks will miss Horford and take a step back — Dwight Howard for Horford is not a trade any sane person would make. They will still be good, but the Hawks team that made it to the conference finals in 2015 seems very much a thing of the past now.
While Horford is in Boston with the team of the future.