Al Horford: Last year’s Celtics group ‘just wasn’t going to be able to coexist’ if retained
Al Horford wants to win a championship.
One way or another, he determined that wouldn’t happen in Boston.
Kyrie Irving was the lynchpin, both central to the Celtics’ terrible chemistry last season but also a highly talented player whose departure lowered their ceiling.
After Irving left for the Nets, Horford signed with the 76ers.
Horford, via Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:
I appreciate Horford acknowledging the money factored. So many players deny that. It almost always matters, but it has become uncouth to say. The 76ers guaranteed him $97 million with an additional $5 million if he makes the NBA Finals in the next three years and another $7 million if he wins a championship in that span.
Boston can still have a bright future with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. But those forwards are young. As Horford said, it could take a couple years for the Celtics to fully ramp up. At 33, Horford doesn’t have that kind of time.
Remember, Boston couldn’t have re-signed Horford and acquired Kemba Walker without other major moves. The cap space vacated by Horford was essential to landing Walker. If Horford had re-signed, he would’ve returned to a team far different than the current Celtics.
As for a scenario where Irving stayed, I disagree with Horford that it couldn’t have worked. It probably wouldn’t have worked. But couldn’t have? That’s too strong. The people involved could have overcome their differences.
Of course, that would have been even more difficult with so many of those players viewing chemistry problems as inevitable. After last year’s trying season, it seems most – if not all – Celtics had given up on trying to get along.
So, the star free agents left, and everyone appears happier for the change in environments.