Celtics

Report: Al Horford no longer discussing three-year deal with the Celtics, expected to sign elsewhere

Report: Al Horford no longer discussing three-year deal with the Celtics, expected to sign elsewhere

When Al Horford declined his $30.1 million contract Tuesday, all signs were pointing to him agreeing to a three-year contract to stay in Boston

Now, it seems Horford will take his talents elsewhere once free agency begins on June 30. 

Shams Charania also reported that the Celtics are preparing for a strong scenario that both Horford and Irving will leave as free agents, while Adrian Wojnarowski added that Horford and the Celtics discussed a new deal, but it appeared the sides were too far apart in negotiations to agree on a contract. 

According to a story from Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, Horford and the Celtics were engaged in negotiations on a three-year contract with at a lower salary figure than the $30.1 million option Horford declined, but the talks came to an abrupt end.  

And while it’s not known yet how precisely how Horford felt about the Celtics’ prospects moving forward as he seeks to win a championship in this latter stage of his career, it seems almost certain that he is aware another club is willing to go to a fourth year with him.
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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.

Marc Stein of the New York Times reports that the belief around the league is that a four-year, $100 million-plus contract is awaiting Horford, who turned 33 June 3, when free agency opens June 30 at 6 p.m.

All hope may not be lost, however. According to Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe, the Celtics were aware of Horford's interest to sign elsewhere, but are still hopeful they can agree to a contract before it's too late. He includes that few within the Celtics organization know if the time to get a deal done has passed. 

Without Horford and Irving on the roster, the Celtics could find themselves with more than $20 million in cap space, though it is unclear whether they plan to use that on premiere free agents. 

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Enes Kanter shows big support for 7-foot-7 Tacko Fall in latest tweet

Enes Kanter shows big support for 7-foot-7 Tacko Fall in latest tweet

Enes Kanter seems to be a fan of Boston Celtics' 7-foot-7 rookie Tacko Fall.

Kanter posted a video to Twitter of Fall practicing at Auerbach Center, and he took time to praise Fall's efforts on Twitter.

The Celtics' signed Kanter to a two-year $10 million deal back in July, while Fall entered Boston's system as an undrafted free agent but he impressed in the Las Vegas Summer League. Kanter is the replacement for Al Horford, who left the Celtics over the summer for the Philadelphia 76ers.

The two should be a great duo for the Celtics, as both have the height and skill to be something special this coming season.

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Countdown to Celtics Camp: Record predictions for the 2019-20 campaign

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Countdown to Celtics Camp: Record predictions for the 2019-20 campaign

Entering training camp a year ago, expectations were sky-high for the Celtics. Most pundits considered them the team to beat in the East. Vegas fancied Boston as a 59-win team, the second-highest win total behind only Golden State. And a Finals matchup between those two teams was far from a pipe dream.

Fast forward a year and expectations have been tempered. The Celtics lost a pair of All-Stars this summer in Kyrie Irving and Al Horford and, despite signing another in Kemba Walker, the team finds itself widely considered a Tier 2 team in the East behind projection darlings Milwaukee and Philadelphia.

So what happens this year? Do the Celtics go back to being the sort of overachievers that have defined Brad Stevens’ coaching career? Will a younger roster struggle to simply meet even the lowered expectations of this season?

To wrap up Week 1 of our Countdown to Camp series, we asked our NBC Sports Boston panel to look into their crystal balls and predict not only Boston’s final win-loss record but how far they’d advance in the playoffs.

The  Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook projects Boston at 49.5 wins this season. The Bucks (58) and Sixers (55) top the Westgate projections and the next five teams all reside in the west. 

The Celtics went 49-33 last season, settling for the fourth seed in the East. They swept the Victor Oladipo-less Pacers in Round 1 but bowed to the top-seeded Bucks in five games in Round 2.

When you consider that Westgate’s four lowest win totals reside in the East (Knicks, Wizards, Cavaliers, Hornets) and seven East teams sit below 40 wins, it feels like the Celtics should reasonably win 50+ games despite the roster changes.

So we’ll put the Celtics at 52 wins and a spot in the East semifinals. That seeding would likely mean a second-round matchup jousting with either Giannis’ Bucks or Embiid’s Sixers and Boston’s frontcourt development might dictate just how competitive those series could be. Remember, too, Stevens tends to produce his best magic when you least expect it.

The irony, of course, is that the Celtics could win 49 games this season and get bounced in Round 2 again but if they develop chemistry and are more enjoyable to watch then last year’s gang, then Celtics fans will be far more OK with that script playing out a second time — well, so long as players make the sort of strides that suggest more is possible in the coming years.

Abby Chin: 50-32 Eastern Conference Finals

I think purely based on better chemistry and grit, this team will improve on last year’s win total. And, I’ll bank on some luck in the playoff bracket. Maybe with injuries, or regular season Al Horford, Philly and Milwaukee fall to the 2 and 3 seed so the Celtics could avoid them in the first couple rounds.

 

A. Sherrod Blakely: 50-32, East Finals

I'm gonna keep the cookies on the bottom shelf with this one. They are a better team (team not individuals) than they're going to get credit for, and they have a roster that's full of talent with a huge chip on their shoulders from the coach on down. This group will play harder, smarter and win a lot of games they probably shouldn't and by doing so, keep Celtics fans extremely happy all season.

Max Lederman: 51-31, lose in 2nd round

Before last season the Celtics have always overachieved under Brad Stevens. I expect a return to that with lowered expectations this season. The Celtics also had their worst record vs winning teams last year since Brad's 2nd season. They should put up a better fight this season.

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