NBA Writer Suggests Celtics Should Consider Bringing Back This Big Man

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February 17, 2021

The Boston Celtics need to change something up if they want to get out of their current slump.

The team dipped back to .500 on Wednesday night thanks to a 122-114 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden. Injuries have been a major issue, but the team’s consistency as a whole has been the biggest.

The C’s are in desperate need of a solution. And Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix thinks he has one.

Bring back Al Horford, who now plays with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“Al Horford went to Philadelphia with this ill-conceived notion that he was going to get to be this post-up player alongside Joel Embiid, when the reality is Al Horford is a slightly undersized five-man right now at this point of his career,” Mannix said Wednesday during NBC Sports Boston’s pregame coverage of Celtics-Hawks. “If he comes back to Boston and plays that role, I just think for the next couple of years, or at least the next year-and-a-half, he can be the exact same player he was in Boston that he is now in Oklahoma City. … We know he fits in Brad Stevens’ system. He can play the five. He can play a little bit of four. He can shoot the three, which he’s done a lot better this year than he did in Philadelphia.”

There’s always a catch or two. But Mannix thinks it’s worth the risk.

“And let’s not forget, the Celtics, they wanted Horford to come back. They just didn’t want to pay him the four years, $100-plus million the Sixers were willing to offer. Now, he’s go two-and-a-half years left on his contract — around $70-ish million total — on that deal.

“I would take him back in a heartbeat,” he concluded, as long as Horford went for something like a first-round pick. “I understand there were some raw feelings when Al Horford left, not just that he left, but that he went to the chief rival in Philadelphia. But if you can let bygones be bygones, I think Al Horford could make a difference.”

Bold.

Thumbnail photo via Alonzo Adams/USA TODAY Sports Images
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