“They will certainly need center depth, as Al Horford is expected to sit out most back-to-backs and have his minutes limited even further next season, according to team sources,” Weiss said.
Times have since changed since Weiss reported that on July 7. New frontcourt addition Danilo Gallinari is expected to miss the entire season to rehab a torn ACL, and Robert Williams III will be out eight-to-12 weeks due to arthroscopic surgery on his knee. With those two out, the Celtics will only have Horford, Grant Williams, and Luke Kornet as their only proven centers from last year’s roster still on the team.
It appears that Horford’s new minute restriction may not go into effect after all, as Horford admitted that he plans to play in back-to-backs.
Horford is entering the final year of the contract he originally signed with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2019. He is also coming off the longest playoff run of his career. In the 23 games he played during the 2022 NBA Playoffs, Horford averaged 12 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists while shooting 52.3 percent from the field and 48 percent from three.
The Celtics may start to be more conservative with Horford once Williams returns and/or if they decide that they need another veteran center option to preserve him.
Horford Voices Support For Joe Mazzulla
With Ime Udoka suspended for the season, Joe Mazzulla has taken the reigns as the Celtics’ interim head coach. Mazzulla is not only one of the youngest coaches in the league at 34 years old, but he is also two years younger than Horford.
When asked about the age difference, Horford thought it was pretty cool to have a coach younger than him.
When asked about Mazzulla himself, Horford voice his support for his new coach.
“As far as Joe goes, I’m excited for him, for this opportunity. He’s somebody that we all respect, and we’re going to be rallying behind him. We’re going to really put in the time and the work to get this done.”
While Mazzulla will be the Celtics’ third coach in the last three years, he will also be Horford’s fifth coach in the last five years, dating back to his last year in his first tenure with the Celtics.
2019 – Brad Stevens
2020 – Brett Brown
2021 – Mark Daigenault
2022 – Ime Udoka
2023 – Joe Mazzulla
That could also very well change if Mazzulla shows he’s not up to the task, but Horford clearly believes in his new coach.
Insider Reveals How Much Longer Horford Plans to Play
At 36 years old, there are only so many years a player has left during his time in the NBA. A lot of players cease to be productive by the time they hit that age or even before that. Horford proved last season that he still had it at 35, but how much longer can he keep this up?
According to Chris Mannix of NBC Sports Boston, not only does Horford believe he can keep this up, but he has a good idea of when his time will come to an end.
“Talking to Al Horford, he was telling me he’s not just thinking about playing this year,” Mannix said. “His body feels so good he feels he can play two or three more years and keep his career going close to the age of 40.”
That will all depend on how his body holds up as Horford approaches his late-30s.