Al Horford Reflects on Leaving Celtics For Rival in 2019

Al Horford

Getty Al Horford #42, Boston Celtics

Al Horford spoke with reporters at shootaround shortly after it had been announced that he had signed a two-year extension with the Boston Celtics by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Following the extension, Horford was asked if he had any regrets about leaving the Celtics for the Philadelphia 76ers via free agency in 2019. Horford explained why he didn’t.

“It’s part of my journey, and I’m grateful,” Horford said. “My faith has been very big throughout my career, my life, especially my career and me leaning on God and praying a lot and understanding that I have to go through different things in life to get to where I want to get to, and I’m very grateful to have that guidance, and I don’t regret anything that I’ve done. I know that everything has been for the better for me, and it has positioned me in this place right now.”

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Horford signed his current deal with the Sixers in 2019, agreeing to a four-year, $109 million contract that summer. Horford’s stint in Philadelphia was short-lived, as he was traded along with a first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Danny Green among others.

Horford Explained Why He Agreed to Extension

Being in the last year of the contract he agreed to back in 2019, Horford could have waited to see what the open market had to offer when it expired at the season’s end. Following the resurgence he’s had in his second stint with the Celtics, it’s possible Horford could have made more money. Horford explained why he opted to extend while the season was still young.

“There are more important things that we need to focus on and now seemed like a good time,” Horford said. “I just wanted to get it done and just focus on the season and not have anything linger. (I’m) very excited, I’m very happy. My family, we’re very happy about it. This is where we wanted to be, so now that we know that that’s over with and we can just focus on continuing to do the things that we’re doing here and continuing to put in the work every day and continue to build what we’re trying to build here.”

Horford’s New Contract Details

After Wojnarowski had reported that Horford had extended with the Celtics, Jared Weiss of The Athletic reported the exact details of his upcoming contract when his current one expires in 2023.

“-The deal takes the 36-year-old through the 2024-25 season with Boston; Horford turns 39 in June 2025.
“-Horford will receive $10 million next season and $9.5 million in the 2024-25 season. He has a trade bonus for the lesser of 15 percent or $500,000.”

Weiss also revealed what implications Horford’s extension has on his future as an NBA player and how the Celtics’ will approach extension talks with Grant Williams.

“This locks in Horford to likely retire with the Celtics at a rate that will be commensurate with a solid bench piece as the cap rises in the next few years.

“It turns all the focus to Grant Williams’ next deal, as the price opens the door for a bigger payday and starting role for the Celtics’ restricted free agent.”

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