Why did Al Horford leave the Hawks for the Celtics?
He cited money, the biggest factor in player movement.
But did Atlanta signing Dwight Howard play a part? A couple reports say so.
Factor No. 1, according to league sources: Horford was none too pleased with how reluctant the Hawks were to come forward with a full five-year max. Factor No. 2: Atlanta’s signing of Dwight Howard. Could there be a more contradicting force in the NBA to Horford than Howard, in terms of substance vs. style?
“He didn’t want to play with Dwight,” a person familiar with the situation told CBS Sports.
They came up short on the money, and acquired Howard — about whom Horford had major reservations, per sources close to the situation.
Horford denies that, though.
No, no, no. Not at all. I don’t have a problem with Dwight at all. I think that he is a great player and he has a lot of ability and a lot of potential. It has nothing to do with not wanting to play with Dwight. I don’t know if you remember but there was a time when I wanted to play power forward. With a guy like him, that would have been easier. It had nothing to do with Dwight. He’s a good guy.
Howard doesn’t seem like the best teammate, but neither I nor Horford have played with him. As a free agent, Horford had little recourse but to go by hearsay — positive or negative — about Howard. It’s not as if Horford could have a test run playing with Howard.
Leaving Atlanta in part because of Howard is a perfectly acceptable choice. But slamming Howard publicly on the way out the door would be viewed as totally unacceptable.
So, file this under: What else is he supposed to say?