Although it was made clear he wanted to make some significant money while he still could, there was still a chance Al Horford could’ve been a Celtic had he been informed about one detail.
And it’s got nothing to do with the idea of Kyrie Irving coming back to Boston. He expressed to Steve Bullpett of the Boston Herald a lot would’ve needed to change for the Celtics if Irving did return.
“I’m not sure that has anything to do with it for me,” Horford said. “I just think that if Kyrie would have stayed, I don’t know if it would have worked. There would have had to be some major changes as far as players, because it was just clear that the group that we had just wasn’t going to be able to coexist.”
However, had Horford known about the Kemba Walker’s plans to come to Boston, that might’ve changed things.
“I don’t want to get caught up in the past, but yeah, that would have been totally different,” Horford said.
Now, you could make the argument Walker wasn’t in the mix until the Celtics had doubts about Horford’s future. That’s fair.
But, Danny Ainge has pointed out he had doubts about Irving staying in Boston well before free agency. How then was there not a plan B that involved Horford and Walker or someone else?
Horford would’ve been asked to take a pay cut. That’s part of the reason Walker became a possibility for the Celtics in the first place. Though, the Celtics planned to restructure Horford’s deal when he opted out — which Boston saw coming — and it seemed they were going to come to terms on something team-friendly.
And money wasn’t the only thing thing that drove Horford into the arms of Philly. The 76ers gave him a chance to win now. A Walker-less Celtics with Horford had less of a shot than they do now.
Based on his comments, Horford feels a C’s roster featuring himself, Walker and Jayson Tatum would’ve had a legitimate shot to contend in the East. He’s probably right. Unfortunately for the Celtics, they never gave Horford a chance to realize that as an option.