Al Horford Says Celtics Teammates Reached Out After The Trade, Ready to Work

Getty Images After a two year hiatus, Al Horford of the Celtics is back in Boston

The Boston Celtics re-introduced veteran center Al Horford, Thursday afternoon, and in his response to a question regarding which teammates reached out to Horford following the news of the blockbuster trade, Al says two players welcomed him back with open arms.

Horford, who spent three seasons in Boston before heading to the Philadelphia 76ers in 2019, says the moment he found out he was heading back to the Celtics was surreal.

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Celtics’ Jayson Tatum & Robert Williams Reach Out to Al Horford

After Al learned that point guard Kemba Walker was heading to Oklahoma City in exchange for a pair of centers in he and Moses Brown, Horford says Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum and center Robert Williams were the firsts to reach out.

“It was pretty cool,” Horford said. “Jayson (Tatum), J.T. reached out to me, and Rob (Williams). Trading messages with him, as well. It was just one of those kinds of surreal moments I had. Former assistant coaches, people around the league that I’ve known for years texting me. Congratulated me, things like that. It was an exciting time.”

Horford’s demeanor throughout Thursday’s presser certainly conveyed that excitement. In spurts, it almost appeared as if ‘Big Al’ was having trouble containing his smile for long periods of time.

“It was an exciting time for me just going through all of that,” Horford added. “You know, right away I’m thinking ahead. I’m thinking of the challenge. I’m thinking of everything that we need to do and it’s been pretty surreal.”

Al Horford to Celtics Teammates: ‘We Need to Put The Work in Now’

Surreal is certainly an accurate description of what Horford says this past week has been, for him. And, of course, Al’s been around long enough to understand that for these Celtics to succeed, this year, the hard work starts well before the beginning of the regular season.

“For our group, first of all; take advantage of the summer, take advantage of this time,” Horford said. “Guys have to do their work individually and once we’re able to get together in September, just start to build it back in. The first thing is making sure that we’re putting ourselves in the best position, physically and preparing, mentally.”

For Horford, the combination of working hard over the summer along with the NBA hopefully returning to its standard regimen — which consists of training camp, preseason, and a less demanding regular-season schedule — is what he’s most excited about and believes will make a vast difference.

“Finally, it looks like we’re going to have a normal season with a normal schedule. So, I think that’s special,” Horford said. “But, I do believe for our team to be the best that it can, we need to put in the work right now. It starts now. I’ve been working for months already and continue to build in that direction.”

Celtics’ Grant Williams, Tacko Fall Are Back

According to Al, some of his teammates are already back at work.

“I was in the facility yesterday and I already saw a lot of our young guys in there,” Horford said. “Grant Williams, Tacko Fall, some of the guys that were in there, putting in the work; they’re going about it the right way. And, that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to work really hard and prepare and be excited for the challenge.

“We have a great opportunity in front of us.”