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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Celtics-Heat simulation: C's dominate in Eastern Conference showdown

Celtics-Heat simulation: C's dominate in Eastern Conference showdown

The NBA season has been put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis, meaning we may have to wait until mid-April at the earliest to watch the Boston Celtics again.

As a way to make up for the loss of Celtics action, we'll be using the NBA 2K20 video game to simulate each game on the schedule until they finally return.

PREVIOUS FIVE SIMULATIONS

The Celtics were supposed to be taking on the Miami Heat on Wednesday in an Eastern Conference showdown. Here's how our simulation of the marquee matchup went:

CELTICS STATS

If you've been paying any sort of attention to these simulations the past couple of weeks, you've noticed that Kemba Walker has been on an absolute tear offensively. That didn't change Wednesday, as he dropped a game-high 32 points to lead the way in the C's blowout win.

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, a.k.a. "Fire and Ice," continued their strong offensive output with 27 and 21 points respectively. Tatum was a force on the defensive end as well, notching nine rebounds, three steals and three blocks.

With the game in hand, Boston's reserves played for nearly the entire fourth quarter. Brad Wanamaker and Vincent Poirier tallied seven points each off the bench.

HEAT STATS

Four Heat players scored in double figures, but it still wasn't enough to keep up with the Celtics. Jimmy Butler led Miami with 21 points, though he struggled from the field going just 7-for-21 shooting. Kendrick Nunn was far more efficient, going 6-for-13 and finishing with 19.

TEAM STATS

This game really wasn't close at any point, and in these sims, the C's have established themselves as the clear superior Eastern Conference squad. The biggest takeaways from the list of stats above are Boston's defensive prowess (12 steals, seven blocks), and dominance in the paint (54 points).

FINAL SCORE: Celtics 119, Heat 98

Make that nine wins in a row for the unstoppable NBA 2K Celtics. Can they keep it going? Tune in Friday for their next matchup vs. the Orlando Magic and find out.

Celtics Talk Podcast: Isaiah Thomas recalls ending Warriors' home streak, ready for another comeback

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Celtics Talk Podcast: Isaiah Thomas recalls ending Warriors' home streak, ready for another comeback

In the latest edition of the Celtics Talk Podcast, Isaiah Thomas looks back at one of his signature victories as the C's point guard when Boston came into Oracle Arena, where the Golden State Warriors have won 54 in a row, and upset the defending NBA champions.

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It happened four years ago, April 1, 2016, and Thomas vividly recalled a victory that put Brad Stevens' up-and-coming Celtics, who would go on to win 48 games and reach the Eastern Conference Finals that season, on the map.

We were treating it like a must-win, knowing everything that was at stake for the Warriors, Thomas told A. Sherrod Blakely. "That year … they were unstoppable. We knew how hard it was to win in Golden State because of how great their fan base is. Not only that, how great a team they were. We went in like it was a must-win.

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Thomas said that win made the league take notice of not only the Celtics, but himself as well. 

Nobody thought we would be what we were. Nobody thought I would be what I was...Everybody on that team showed a lot of people that we were good enough to be a really good team and individually, we had really good players that to this day are showing what they're capable of doing.

Injuries have kept Thomas, now 31, from reaching the level he enjoyed with the Celtics and he's again looking for a team after he was waived by the Los Angeles Clippers after being dealt there by the Washington Wizards at the trade deadline. Still, his signature confidence hasn't waned. 

I got a lot left in the tank. I know what I can do. I'm never going to sugar coat it. I'm one of the best players in the world if given the opportunity.

And could that come in again in Boston next season?

You never know," he told Blakely. "If given the opportunity, I'd love to come back. I would love to be able to be a part of what the Celtics got going on. Just be able to help. Not come in with any expectations.

Blakely also catches up with ex-Celtics forward Jared Sullinger, who was a part of that 2015-16 team and had a big night in that win over the Warriors (20 points, 12 rebounds). Listen and subscribe to the Celtics Talk Podcast and view it on YouTube: