Like all good love stories, it started with an Instagram DM. Al Horford slid into Dennis Schroder’s direct messages this summer with a simple request: “let’s get on a call.”
The Celtics reacquired Horford in June, and the big man instantly went on the recruiting pitch. He played with Schroder in Oklahoma City and told the tenacious point guard he would thrive with the Celtics. Jay King of The Athletic runs down the conversation in a new feature story about how Horford helped bring Schroder to Boston.
“You’re going to have a big year here,” Horford said, according to Schroder. “We know your value and we know how to put you in place to be successful.’”
Schroder, 28, was widely mocked for taking a one-year, $5.9 million contract after turning down an $84 million offer from the Lakers. But Schroder's time with the Celtics could be a positive. He would be setting himself up for another big payday if he thrives.
New head coach Ime Udoka told Schroder he loves his on-court intensity.
“(Udoka) said, ‘I love first of all that everybody knows you bring that dog mentality into the game,’” Schroder told King. “We’ve got Marcus Smart as well who brings that. And all the other guys as well. But he knows I’m quick, can handle the point guard position, can handle even playing with Russ, PG, Chris Paul, Shai (Gilgeous-Alexander), LeBron, AD. I can play almost with everyone.”
After spending three seasons in the West, Schroder has played against the best scorers in the NBA, and is commonly regarded as one of the best defenders in the game. He’s also developed into a scoring threat, averaging 17.4 points per game over the last five seasons.
It’s fun to think about Schroder gelling with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. If he does, we can thank Horford. Big Al got the ball rolling.
“One big reason I chose the Boston Celtics was because of him,” Schroder said.