Boston Going Big with Horford

Celtics Rafters

The Boston Celtics are one of the most historic franchises in all of sports history.

They have a total of 17 NBA titles, 21 conference and division titles, legendary players from the great Bill Russell, Jon Havlicek, Bob Cousey, Larry “Legend” Bird, Kevin McHale, Kevin Garnett and many more.

But with all of Boston’s great achievements they’ve always had the unfortunate luck when signing big name free agents. That was until this season.

Al Horford Heading to Boston

For many Boston fans it was a roller-coaster ride which was certain to end in tragic terms. Boston was odds on favourites to signing 3x Defensive player of the year Dwight Howard, but learned early in the day that he had signed a deal with conference rivals Atlanta.

Possibly inspired by Lebron James wanting to win one for the land, he committed to a 3 year $70.5 million deal. That was when that familiar sinking feeling hit fans in the gut. But Boston fans were not staying down.

Horford

As the day progressed Boston fans learned they were in tight competition with the Washington Wizards chasing the signature of four time all-star Al Horford. He stated he was really impressed by the Wizards dynamic duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal when he played them in the playoffs two seasons ago.

Thinking logically, that big three could’ve given teams problems come playoff time. But Horford was just as satisfied with the Boston pitch too.

For hours fans had no updates on a Horford decision but was still hoping on an announcement of his decision during the day. The current feeling throughout the camp was its a 50/50 shot.

Then another blow was dealt to Boston fans. Horford was being offered a 5 year maximum deal to return to Atlanta after Kent Bazemore committed to return on a deal totalling $70 million for 4 years. They became more aggressive with the pursuit of Al Horford by placing Paul Millsap on the trading block.

Atlanta’s phone was blowing up with many offers for the all-star power forward. Adrian Wojnarowski reported that several teams were actively pursuing Millsap.

An hour after Woj dropped the information another tweet soon followed that Boston and Washington have rapidly lost hope on signing Al Horford, believing he was to return to Atlanta to team up with Dwight Howard.

There it was, that feeling of despair and shock.

Howard

Boston have come a long way since the rebuild, improving every season and coming off a great season with all-star point guard, Isaiah Thomas, and first team all-defense specialist, Avery Bradley, in the fold.

Boston fans believed this free agency may be different. But hope began to fade for Boston fans everywhere. No announcement was officially made but the fan base had come to accept that this wasn’t the free agency they would succeed in.

Minutes later David Aldridge of TNT dropped the tweet that caused a celebration this writer hasn’t quite seen – “Horford to Boston”.

I was awake during the period when the news dropped (after midnight UK time) and the reaction everywhere was crazy. Boston Celtics fans on Reddit were losing their mind. Al Horford’s Twitter feed had exploded with fans showing the love that makes Boston the great place it is.

Then it happened. Al Horford logged onto his twitter account, changed his display picture to Lucky the leprechaun, and tweeted “Celtic pride” with 18 shamrocks. Dreaming of that 18th championship title, Boston fans instantly fell in love with that attitude and the fact Boston now has 2 all-stars within its starting five.

Horford tweet

Al Horford’s father came out stating a huge reason why he joined the Celtics. He was blown away by the Boston fan-base when Atlanta matched up in the playoffs last season.

“Dad, when we were playing Boston, they were down 15 points and they were cheering their team like they were winning the game. They’re so into the game”. He claimed.

What’s more, Boston still have room for one more max salary player.

Another event was still happening during this period of joy.

NBA Sale All-Star

Kevin Durant was still in the Hamptons being courted by Danny Ainge, 4x NFL superbowl champion Tom Brady (who Kevin Durant is a huge fan of), Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas was believed to be in attendance too.

It’s no secret that Kevin Durant is a huge fan of Al Horford’s game, with Oklahoma even trying to lure him there, but the refusal to disclose if Russell Westbrook or Durant would stay long term deterred Al from joining.

This meeting went on for an apparent four hours, giving Boston fans an inkling of hope. KD plans on announcing his decision late Sunday/early Monday morning, times which many Boston fans will spend polishing a horse shoe, hunting for four leaf clovers or breaking wishbones.

Boston pitch

If Durant did decide to move to Boston, Danny Ainge then turns them into a ‘win now’ team. Boston still has ample assets to spare, those being Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder and Kelly Olynyk to name a few.

Some fans believe if they were to land Durant, Ainge then tries to flip a deal for Jimmy Butler or DeMarcus Cousins.

The addition of DeMarcus would push Horford to play the power forward which is a role he plays well and prefers. All of a sudden Boston has a real team to challence. But again that is the best case scenario, a pipeline dream and a huge fantasy – there’s no guarantee that it comes off.

The Eastern conference has got significantly better this off-season, but the Celtics are looking to shake things up and do what they can to compete. No-one knows the real plan Danny Ainge has. But the Boston fans can do no more than trust in him.

My name is Samuel, I’m 26 years of age and I’m from Essex, United Kingdom. I’ve followed basketball for many years now and am an outspoken Boston Celtics fan. Although the Celtics are my team I will not let that influence any articles I write now or anytime in the future. I am a part of a podcast titled “In The Post” where we discuss current affairs in the NBA and any upcoming events, trades etc.

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