Exec Sounds Off on Al Horford’s Future With Celtics: ‘I’d Be Shocked’

Al Horford of the Boston Celtics.

Getty Al Horford of the Boston Celtics.

After losing in the NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics have done a great job of rounding out their roster. Brad Stevens got to work this summer, signing Danilo Gallinari to a two-year contract and making an important trade for guard Malcolm Brogdon.

Now, they have one of the best rosters in the league. Although an ACL injury to Gallinari may mean that the Italian forward misses the whole season, Boston is still set up for plenty of success. At the very least, their starters from last year will all be back and ready to rumble.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are just now entering the primes of their career, Robert Williams will be looking to finally have a fully-healthy season, and Marcus Smart is coming off of a Defensive Player of the Year campaign. That just leaves Al Horford, who looked great last year. However, at 36 years old, he’s entering the back end of his career.

As far as retirement is concerned, sources who spoke with Sean Deveney of Heavy.com believe that Horford is destined to finish his career in Boston.

“Most of us thought Al was done two years ago so I would not be eager to write him off,” an Eastern Conference executive told Deveney. “But he will be 37. I think he probably has a couple years left but after this year, he is maybe looking at  a taxpayer midlevel deal (about $6 million per year). I don’t think Boston is going to want to spend more than that but if he is comfortable with that paycheck, then I’d be shocked if he left. I’d be surprised if he does not retire a Celtic.”

Boston is expected to take precautionary measures next year.

Horford Will Sit Back-to-Backs

Heading into last season, Horford had plenty of rest. The Oklahoma City Thunder benched him for the majority of the season, so he had fresh legs when he joined the Celtics. Now, he’ll be coming off of a grueling Finals run.

Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com revealed that Boston plans to sit him on the back end of back-to-backs in an attempt to preserve his health and give him some extra rest.

“Don’t expect to see that big of a load put on Horford in the coming season, though. In addition to his regular-season playing time, Horford played 277 minutes in the postseason, the most among the 35-plus crowd. Expect the Celtics to pay special attention to how much they’re asking of Horford, especially when it comes to back-to-back games.

“In fact, Heavy Sports NBA insider Steve Bulpett said the Celtics could make a bold move on Horford when it comes to back-to-backs,” wrote Deveney.

If the Celtics wanted to take things a step further, they could even consider bringing him off the bench.

Horford Could Come Off Bench

It may not seem ideal, but bringing Horford off the bench could be the best move for him. They could even put him back in the starting lineup come playoff time. For the regular season, though, Boston could simply run Grant Williams and Robert Williams in the frontcourt.

That would also help Boston with their backup center issue, as Horford would be able to effectively back up Williams, and Sam Hauser could slot in as the backup power forward in limited minutes.

Horford will be with the team next year, but his role could change. And after this season, anything could happen.

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