WALTHAM – Al Horford was introduced as a member of the Boston Celtics on Friday morning, citing Boston’s potential to build championship contenders as one of the primary reasons he was attracted to the organization.
"I’m very grateful and very excited for this opportunity for me and my family. I have a lot of respect for this organization," Horford said. "I always admired the Celtics from afar. Just how everything gets carried over here and how committed the team and the city is to winning and doing things the right way.”
Horford, who was joined by his wife Amelia and son Ean at the press conference, is a four-time All-Star averaging 14.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.7 assists over his nine-year career.
“He is a man who plays basketball the right way and reminds me of the great Celtics of the past. He believes in Celtic Pride and we believe in him,” Grousbeck said, also speaking glowingly about Horford as a man off the court. “This will be a big step in our relentless quest for Banner 18.”
The 30-year-old will one of the team’s centerpieces in the frontcourt, and fills a number of different needs. The Celtics needed a big man that could stretch the floor, and as a 34.4 three-point shooter, Horford should help tremendously.
The Celtics had one of the NBA’s best defenses last season, but Horford should add a new dimension on that end.
“He plays with a passion that is contagious to his teammates. He can fit different types of players. He can play outside, he can play inside on both ends of the court. But he is a player, watching him play against us in the playoffs this year, flying around, contesting shots, and bringing an energy and passion, I think he is a player that our fans will fall in love with, and his teammates will fall in love with, and our coach will fall in love with, as well.”
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens followed up that last comment with, “That last part’s already done.”
It might be true for the fans, too. Horford first announced his commitment to the Celtics on Twitter last Saturday, with 18 shamrock emojis signifying the chase for Banner 18.
Horford's deal is expected to be for four years, $113 million, with a player opt-out after the third season. With Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko also back in the fold, the Celtics currently have roughly $11.9 million in cap space.
Grousbeck made it clear that the paperwork still needs to be done to make the Horford signing official, but his introduction to the Boston Celtics is complete. The next step is adding more pieces to an already impressive roster.
Kevin O’Connor can be followed on Twitter: @KevinOConnorNBA