For Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, the first step in reshaping a roster that’s best-suited for All-Stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and others was bringing back a familiar face.
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Stevens, addressing the media during his first post-trade press conference as Celtics’ head coach turned-president of basketball ops., discussed how difficult trading away veteran point guard Kemba Walker truly was. And, why bringing back veteran Al Horford comes with a plethora of benefits.
Brad Stevens On The Al Horford Trade: ‘It Was The Best Deal’
It’s the biggest reason why Stevens agreed to Oklahoma City Thunder’s asking price of this year’s 16th overall pick in the NBA Draft in addition to Walker’s remaining two years, $73.6 million left on his max contract in exchange for Horford, prospect Moses Brown, and a 2025 second-round pick.
“It gave us the opportunity to look at a road ahead with a few more options,” Stevens said. “From the financial standpoint, with the picks, all of our future first-round picks past this year, which again; give you more options. And then, it was the best deal that we thought with regard to returning players, right?”
In the NBA, the idea of swapping out an injury-plagued guard for a proven veteran big man along with a promising center in one fell swoop; is typically a good one. And for the Celtics, bringing Horford back into the fold has its advantages that bode well for Boston’s star tandem and its rising starting center, who made tremendous strides last season.
Celtics’ Al Horford Will Mentor Robert Williams
Averaging 8 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks, the 2020-21 campaign was, without question, Robert Williams’ coming out party. But, the party was cut short due to a slew of injuries — which has been the story for the majority of his NBA career.
Williams initially suffered from a sprained left ankle before the turf toe in his left foot eventually sidelined Robert for good. Now, Williams, who will be entering his fourth season in the NBA, this fall, is being reunited with the same veteran who welcomed him into the league.
“Rob is a guy who really wants to be good,” Stevens said. “He is a listener. He wants to improve. He will lean on every word Al says, obviously. And, I think they can help make each other better.”
Brad Stevens Addresses Celtics’ Logjam at Center
As for the other remaining centers, it’s too soon for Stevens to predict what the future holds. While the makeup of his roster remains in flux, Stevens is certain of the immediate impact Horford will have on his frontcourt.
“With those guys, and Tristan and Moses, and we still have Tacko on his contract. We have a lot of decisions to make,” Stevens added. “But also, a lot of flexibility. With those guys, you’re talking about some really good players at that position. So, we’ll see how it all shakes itself out.”