Celtics Urged to Bench Veteran Starter Amid Trade Speculation

Celtics urged to bench Al Horford

Getty Al Horford of the Boston Celtics defends Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Just seven months after reuniting with the veteran big man, the Boston Celtics are said to be shopping Al Horford. The Athletic’s Jared Weiss reported on January 19 that the Cs are exploring trade options for the five-time All-Star ahead of the February 10 deadline in hopes of yielding another center in return.

With that said, we may not need to wait until Horford is (potentially) donning another jersey for the Celtics to shake up their frontcourt.

While Horford and Robert Williams have had their moments together this season, Brian Robb of Mass Live believes it’s time for Ime Udoka to move away from the double big look — and that doesn’t mean sending Time Lord to the bench. Instead, the Celtics insider pleads a case for Grant Williams to usurp Horford in Boston’s starting five:

Boston could certainly use some big man depth to provide as an alternative to [Enes Kanter] Freedom’s defensive issues but that player has not been acquired yet (and isn’t Bruno Fernando). So what’s the fix here? Bringing Horford off the bench and starting Grant Williams is a simple fix that solves the problem. Horford and Rob Williams can share all 48 minutes at center in this scenario while G. Williams provides some needed floor spacing for the start group with his 42 percent shooting from 3-point range.

Williams, 23, is enjoying a breakout campaign of sorts this season. Not only is he shooting a personal best from beyond the arc, but he’s receiving the most usage of his three-year NBA career, averaging 22.8 minutes per game. His 7.2 points per game average on 48.3% shooting are both also new career highs.

Will Horford’s Offensive Inconsistencies Hurt His Trade Value?

Horford has been far from a flop in his second stint with the Celtics. The 35-year-old big man has been arguably Boston’s top defender this season and is floating around a career-best average in blocks with 1.4 per game. However, his offensive output has lacked consistency in what is year 15 for the former No. 3 overall pick — mainly of late. In Horford’s last 13 games, he’s scored double-digit points only three times. For comparison, over his first 25 games of the season, Horford failed to register 10-plus points just six times. Furthermore, he’s shooting a career-worst 28.5% from beyond the arc.

Still, his veteran leadership, defensive upside and past track record to produce in the offensive department could easily make him an attractive target on the open market. Especially considering the fact that only $14.5 million of his $26.5 million salary for the 2022-23 season is guaranteed (via Spotrac).

The latest Celtics news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Celtics newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Celtics!

Read More