There comes a point in every basketball player’s career when they are forced to come to terms with the fact that they have more games in the rearview mirror than they do in front of them. Even the NBA’s best-ever ballers, legends like Larry Bird and Bill Russell, couldn’t outfox Father Time.
However, rarely are players’ advancing years outed in such an official and widely-broadcast way as former Boston Celtics big man Al Horford’s were on Friday.
Although the five-time All-Star was having a solid campaign for the Oklahoma City Thunder before the team opted to sit him, he was given a particularly biting injury designation during a telecast of their latest game against the Phoenix Suns.
Al Horford Listed as ‘Old’ on Injury Report
As screen-captured and shared via Twitter by USA Today’s Ky Carlin, Horford was listed along with Abdel Nader, Frank Kaminsky, Torrey Craig, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luguentz Dort in the pre-game injury report on the Suns’ game feed. And while the others were given designations we’re used to seeing, Horford’s label stuck out like a sore thumb.
The 34-year-old’s official status simply read, “old.” Ouch.
In truth, the Thunder decided to shut down the veteran center in an effort to evaluate some of the other (younger) players on their roster. Given the fact that OKC is well out of the playoff race in the Western Conference, it’s a move that makes sense for the club.
At the trade deadline, OKC acquired 23-year-old center Tony Bradley from the Philadelphia 76ers. They also brought 21-year-old big man Moses Brown back into the fold.
‘Old’ but Not Decrepit
While Horford isn’t expected to play again this season, he was having something of a resurgent campaign before he got shelved. In 28 games with OKC this season (all starts), Horford put up 14.2 points and nearly seven boards per contest. He also connected on 37 percent of his career-high 5.4 three-point attempts per game.
He currently has two years and $53 million remaining on his deal. If he can maintain his current level of production, he may just be worth it, too. Even as he moves into his mid and late-30s.
Ahead of the trade deadline, there were rumblings that he could be a target of the Celtics. They were aided in no small part by his sister posting a picture of herself in a Celtics t-shirt on social media.
Although that ultimately did not come to pass, and he likely isn’t a buyout candidate yet due to the money and years remaining on his deal, the Thunder will look to move him this offseason.
Robert Williams III Makes History
The Celtics’ current starting center Rob Williams made a bit of history during the team’s 118-102 victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday.
In 25 minutes of play, Williams scored 20 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out eight assists while making all 10 of his shot attempts. In doing so, he became just the third center in NBA history to post a 20-8-8 game on 100 percent shooting, according to StatMuse.
The other two: Wilt Chamberlain and Nikola Jokic. Not bad for a guy who was playing behind Daniel Theis a few weeks ago.