Al Horford appears like he’ll be wearing a new uniform next season.
The 33-year-old forward is planning to leave the Celtics and sign a long-term contract with a different team, according to a report from the Boston Herald, which cites an unidentified source close to Horford.
Major change in the Al Horford situation:
Per source close to Horford, his side is no longer discussing a new 3-year deal to stay with the Celtics. He is expected to sign a 4-year free agent contract elsewhere…
Story to come.
— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) June 18, 2019
Horford declined his $30.1 million player option with Boston for 2019-20, according to multiple reports. He had reportedly been discussing inking a new three-year deal with the Celtics, however, “the gulf is too great for the sides to believe” they can come to an agreement now, according to ESPN.
Boston and Al Horford had discussed contract scenarios, but the gulf is too great for sides to believe they can close on a new deal now, league sources tell ESPN. Horford is prepared to enter the free agency to find a three or four year deal elsewhere.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 18, 2019
Horford was a vital member of the Celtics rotation last season. He averaged 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting 36% from 3-point range.
“It’s something that I haven’t even stopped to think about,” Horford said about free agency last month (via MassLive.com). “I’ve enjoyed being here in Boston. Just have to wait and see what we’re going to do as a team. And it’s steps that the management is going to do moving forward and continue to get better.”
The Celtics entered the season as the favorites to win the East but finished with a 49-33 record and were eliminated by the Bucks in five games in the conference semifinals.
“We all expected more from each other and from this group. I do believe that we gave all we had. Things just didn’t go our way,” Horford said in May. “We had an up-and-down season all year and, in the playoffs, we got off to a good start and then, for whatever reason, we weren’t able to recover.
“Obviously, that’s disappointing and it hurts because we were trying to do it for Boston, for our fans, and obviously we’re disappointed. We came up way short.”
Star Kyrie Irving will also be a free agent this summer and his chances of re-signing with the Celtics are reportedly low.