Boston Celtics won’t get their chance at the NBA Finals. Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, and the rest of the Celtics were bounced out of the playoffs in five games in the Eastern Conference semis by Gianns Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Now Boston moves to the offseason, where it has several critical decisions to make. Will they be able to keep both Irving and Horford, and perhaps more importantly, do they want to?
Horford was the glue that kept the Celtics team together all season long, and he was a good playoff performer. Irving on the other hand spent three months of the season moping, and some analysis of the Celtics’ performance suggest they could be better both emotionally and practically if he decided to sign elsewhere this summer.
At least in the case of Horford, it appears that he wants to come back. According to a rumor from the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett, Horford would be willing to take a discount to return to the Celtics next season. To do that, the veteran center would need to opt out of his current contract.
Via Boston Herald:
The Celts still have to find out what Al Horford wants to do. The veteran can opt out of the approximately $29 million he has coming next year, and, according to a league source, Horford would like to stay. The source added that he’d take a more team-friendly number for next season if he can get two more years tacked on.
As of now, however, the Celtics have yet to engage in any talks with Horford or his representation.
Horford is a key cog for Boston. Or he was. We know that Danny Ainge will make any move he thinks well improve his team, relationships with players be damned. The Isaiah Thomas trade confirmed that.
Also under consideration is the fact Horford is getting older — by the time next season starts he will be 33. One of the reasons Boston has been rumored as a trade destination for Anthony Davis is so they can get younger at the frontcourt.
What kind of discount would entice both sides to stick together? We don’t know, but the fact that Horford allegedly wants to stay and try to push this team forward is at least something sweet for Celtics fans as they taste the bitterness of defeat.