Celtics' Owner Provides Clarity on Al Horford's Future with Franchise

Jun 17, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) shoots the ball against Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) during the second quarter in game five of the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 17, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) shoots the ball against Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) during the second quarter in game five of the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports / Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
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On Monday night at TD Garden, Al Horford, who already built a legacy defined by winning, added the one accomplishment missing from his resume and became an NBA champion.

The Celtics leaned heavily on the 17-year veteran as Kristaps Porzingis dealt with multiple postseason injuries. Horford, who started in 15 of Boston's 19 playoff tilts, averaged 9.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in 30.3 minutes.

He registered nine points, nine rebounds, and two steals in the championship clincher before Joe Mazzulla utilized a stop in play for free throws to sub him out to a raucous ovation from the TD Garden faithful.

"Yeah, it's crazy to look back," Jrue Holiday told Inside The Celtics of what it means to him to see Horford become an NBA champion and to help that come to fruition.

"Before, I was trying not to make that happen, and then, obviously, once I became his teammate, it was like one of the ultimate goals of this season. Knowing the type of person that Al is, knowing the leader that he is, even off the court, the father that he is, just the all-around great person and great human, I'd run through a brick wall for him. I'm so happy that he got one."

Boston Celtics center Al Horford pumps his fists on the championship podium with the Larry O'Brien Trophy in front of him.
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Despite how well the former Florida Gator played this postseason, some questioned whether he'd return to defend the NBA title he just helped capture or if Horford, who turned 38 on June 3, would cap his career with Banner 18.

"Al is coming back for next year," stated Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, squashing rumblings of Horford's retirement during an appearance on The Greg Hill Show on WEEI a day after his team lifted the Larry O'Brien Trophy. "That's what I've been told."

Grousbeck continued, "Ironically, we won in '08 over Al's team," adding, "The Hawks took us to seven in the first round. So, we were part of his drought, and now he came home to us. He loves it here. He and his family love it here. He couldn't be happier, and we are also happy to have him."

The storybook ending and going out with a championship is ideal, but many athletes want to play as long as possible. Horford has described his workout routine as a lifestyle. He averaged over 30 minutes this postseason. He's still playing at a high level, and Boston's core is intact. The five-time All-Star, who's under contract for $9.5 million for the 2024-25 campaign, will be there for the Celtics' title defense, possibly longer.


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Bobby Krivitsky

BOBBY KRIVITSKY

Bobby Krivitsky's experiences include covering the NBA as a credentialed reporter for Basketball Insiders. He's also a national sports talk host for SportsMap Radio, a network airing on 96 radio stations throughout the country. Additionally, he was a major-market host, update anchor, and producer for IMG Audio, and he worked for Bleacher Report as an NFL and NBA columnist.