DM From Longtime Celtic Brought Top Guard to Boston

Dennis Schroder Al Horford

Getty Dennis Schroder and Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks double-team Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry during a 2015 game. Schroder and Horford have reunited with the Boston Celtics.

Dennis Schroder’s move to the Boston Celtics had the feel of a rabbit-out-of-the-hat acquisition for team president Brad Stevens. Sure, Schroder’s market had dried up when team after team elected to spend its free agent dollars elsewhere, but the idea that the Beantowners could snag a player of Schroder’s ilk for the taxpayer mid-level exception seemed like bad fiction.

After all, the 28-year-old had averaged 17.4 points, 5.3 assists and 3.4 rebounds per contest over the previous five seasons. And the Los Angeles Lakers were reportedly willing to extend his last contract for an additional four years and $84 million.

Nevertheless, the high-scoring combo guard ended up in Boston. So, what prompted Schroder to consider a move to the Massachusetts Bay? Apparently, just a random DM from a Celtics mainstay and former teammate.

Big Al’s Big Pitch

BACK TO BUSINESS. BOSTON HERE WE COME!!Flying back to the states, ready to get back to work BUT end up missing our connecting flight so we had to spend the night in Washington. Tune in to the latest episode right here! IG Cameraman

As relayed by The Athletic’s Jay King, Schroder revealed that an Instagram message from his former Atlanta Hawks running mate, big man Al Horford, played a significant role in swaying him toward the #BleedGreen crew.

“Let’s get on a call and talk about the Boston Celtics,” Horford said, per Schroder.

Horford was understandably shocked that his new/old team was in a position to ink such a high-caliber player despite having spent the lion’s share of its money. And he was determined to do his part to help the Celtics land him. Wrote King:

On the phone, Horford laid out his recruiting pitch. He told Schroder his hard-nosed style would fit well in the Celtics organization and in the city of Boston. Horford emphasized that after needing to suppress his game in Los Angeles for a season, Schroder would be able to showcase his talents on the Celtics. As much as anything, Horford stressed to Schroder how badly the Celtics needed him.

Although Schroder ultimately communicated with a number of other people from the franchise — Stevens, Jaylen Brown, Ime Udoka; Jayson Tatum texted him — it was Horford’s words that carried the most weight. They had, after all, been through the battles together. Schroder knew how committed to winning Horford was.

“One big reason I chose the Boston Celtics was because of him,” Schroder confessed.

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Schroder Thinks He’ll Fit in Nicely

While the Schroder signing gave the Celtics a significant boost in offensive firepower, questions remain about his ability to integrate. He is, after all, a volume scorer and a player who is at his best with the ball in his hands; attributes that could be incongruent with playing beside a pair of All-Stars in Tatum and Brown.

It’s a scenario that Schroder is well aware of — and one that he has experienced before. However, he is confident that he has found a better mix in Boston.

“Of course when you play with two of the best players in the world, it’s kind of tough to bring your game,” Schroder said, via King. “That’s not even saying anything negative. It’s just about the business side of it. Sometimes you don’t feel comfortable and you don’t think you fit in very well. I had that a couple of times with LA where it’s like, ‘OK, do I really fit in? Do we have it down pat?’ Because in the first round, you saw what happened. Of course there were a lot of injuries, but it was just a little weird situation. But here I think everybody so far has given me a good feel.”


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