According to Adrain Wojnarowski of ESPN, Boston Celtics center Al Horford will opt-out of his contract for next season and head into free agency. This is surprising for many as Horford was expected to be back in green next season, but apparently he is ready to move on. And believe it or not this move is bigger for the Celtics than any decision Kyrie Irving makes.
Horford has won everywhere he has been in his basketball career, whether that be at the University of Florida or with the Atlanta Hawks: that did not change during his Celtic tenure. Part of the reason Horford said he came to Boston in the first place was due to the winning culture of years past.
So if Horford does in fact leave, that means to me that either he: 1. Got tired of all the nonsense that happened last year, or 2. He doesn’t believe in the Celtics being legit contenders. No one would really blame Horford for leaving if he is just trying to get away from all the drama, but I think the second scenario would be a more likely cause for the big man to leave.
Horford’s departure would signal that Boston is ready and willing to try and win with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum leading the way. Both are talented players, but just like most, Horford would have little faith in believing that those two would be able to contend with Steph Curry’s Warriors, LeBron James’s Lakers, or Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Bucks. This is why Horford’s decision will be the most telling for the C’s offseason. I think it will tell us what way the C’s go: if they are trying to win now or later.
-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)