Al Horford reportedly stopped trade Celtics put together to keep him in Boston

Nick Friar
October 13, 2019 - 7:46 am

The departure of Al Horford has been a bigger concern for the 2019-20 Celtics than Kyrie Irving’s move to Brooklyn. Boston doesn’t have a post player who’s as versatile defensively as Horford. Not to mention, he did several things well on the offensive end.

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A recent report indicated the Celtics dropped the ball with Horford this summer. He expressed things “would have been totally different” if he’d known Kemba Walker was coming to Boston.

Well, based on the latest report from Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, there was more to the situation. The Herald is reporting the Celtics had a deal in place where the Celtics would have completed a three-way trade which brought Walker to Boston, sent Irving to Brooklyn and Terry Rozier to Charlotte.

With the Nets being in a position of power — they didn’t need Boston’s help to acquire Irving — their price wasn’t simply the All-NBA point guard. Bulpett’s report states the asking price “could have been met” by the Celtics.

The problem? Horford elected to honor his original agreement with the 76ers.

Perhaps Horford’s mindset would’ve changed if he’d known sooner about Walker and not already committed to Philadelphia, who is also one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. Though, something else could’ve led him to team up with Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris over Walker, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum — the last of which recently said Horford was one of his favorite teammates.

Maybe it had something to do with one of the comments Horford made when discussing the idea of returning to Boston if Irving didn’t leave:

“There would have had to be some major changes as far as players.”

Again, that was part of Horford’s statement about why he would’ve been apprehensive to return if Irving did as well. But, maybe there was too much doubt on his part about how the team would look with the simple swap of Walker for Irving — meaning, it would’ve resulted in a similar outcome. Or the Celtics could’ve just been too late with the deal.

Either way, the net result is the same: Horford isn’t in Boston anymore and the Celtics are figuring out how to move on without him.