Al Horford Explains Reasoning Behind Signing Extension With Celtics

'This type of stability, it's hard to find'

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December 2, 2022

Al Horford won’t have the chance to test free agency this upcoming summer, and the Boston Celtics forward is quite fine with that.

Horford signed a two-year, $20 million contract extension Thursday to stay with the Celtics through the 2024-25 season, and it was a decision made easier for the longtime NBA veteran given the winning quotient the Celtics have found with Horford serving as an integral part of the team’s supporting cast.

“For me, I really did want to be a part of what we have going here,” Horford told reporters at shootaround Friday before the Celtics face the Heat, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “I felt like me coming back here last year, I felt the strides the group started to make and we’ve continued to make strides in the right direction.

“I feel like there’s a real purpose of trying to win and the group that we have is just a really good group. So, I’m happy and we know we have a lot of work ahead. But this type of stability, it’s hard to find.”

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Horford, 36, has revitalized his career during his second stint with the Celtics after it seemed on the fritz when he left Boston in 2019 to sign a four-year, $109 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers. But playing next to 76ers star Joel Embiid for only one season was a failed experiment, and once was he traded to Oklahoma City, he took a backseat to the youth movement direction the Thunder decided to head in.

Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens then traded for Horford in exchange for Kemba Walker and a first-round draft pick last offseason with Horford fitting in seamlessly yet again. He averaged nearly a double-double in last year’s playoffs — 12 points and 9.3 rebounds per game — to ensure his first trip to the NBA Finals in his career, which is now in year 16.

Horford has provided more of the same this season, bringing veteran leadership and shooting a blistering 48.8% from 3-point range on a team that is off to an NBA-best 18-4 start and has a terrific chance to put a ring on Horford’s finger.

“One of the things is, more than anything, you want to be in a place where you have a chance to contend, to win,” Horford said, per Bontemps. “A place that’s, for me, more than basketball. Boston, I feel a real connection here with the people and with what the Celtics are all about, and it’s something that just really excited me. And the fact that I get that opportunity and Brad believing in me and bringing me here, it’s something that’s special, and I’m really grateful for the opportunity.”

The winning factor and Horford’s comfort level with the Celtics led to the big man taking a hometown discount. He’ll make around $16 million less next season than he did this season.

The contract extension also gives him security as he is signed through his 39th birthday as Horford and the Celtics will look to continue to get the best out of each other for the next two-plus years.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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