Reports that Al Horford won't be re-signing with the Celtics after declining his $30.1 million player option were shock to many who assumed he'd stay in Boston.
So, what changed? Did rumors of Kyrie Irving bolting for the Brooklyn Nets in free agency convince Horford to jump ship as well after a tumultuous season?
Not according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett, who reported Wednesday that Irving's expected departure for Brooklyn "is not said to have had any effect" on Horford's decision to sign elsewhere.
As well, Horford and multiple people around him have insisted he is happy with Boston and the Celtics organization. This therefore appears to simply be a move for a better chance at a championship with a club willing to pay him more on a longer-term contract.
Bulpett's intel seems to align with a quote from Horford's father that the Herald's Mark Murphy passed along Tuesday.
Had a conversation with Al Horford's dad, Tito, in Indiana during the first round of playoffs. Unsolicited, he kept saying, "Al loves it in Boston. Al loves it in Boston. Al loves it in Boston."— Mark Murphy (@Murf56) June 18, 2019
Simply put, it appears Horford is making a business decision: The 33-year-old reportedly believes he can land a four-year contract north of $100 million on a title contender, and the Celtics seemingly can't grant his wishes on either front.
Horford was a fan favorite during his three seasons in Boston, so it's no surprise he has no ill will toward the C's. But his expected exit combined with Irving walking this summer would force the Celtics to further alter course during a difficult offseason.
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