Al Horford enjoyed his three-year tenure in Boston after signing with the Celtics during NBA free agency in the summer of 2016, and he's very excited to be back with the C's after leaving in 2019.
The veteran center was acquired by the Celtics in the blockbuster trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder last week highlighted by C's point guard Kemba Walker going to OKC.
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In his first video press conference with reporters since returning to Boston, Horford expressed his gratitude for getting another chance to play for the Celtics.
"Really happy to be back. I really appreciate how special of a place that Boston is," Horford said. "For me, being away from it and seeing the type of city that it is, what the team is all about, it’s something that I really missed. I feel like I learned a lot, and in my case, change was for the better. I’m just very grateful to have a second opportunity to be back here and to continue to work on what I started here.”
Horford kept tabs on the Celtics from afar following his departure two years ago, and he's relishing the chance to come back.
"It's a little surreal, honestly, to be back. I'm excited," Horford said. "I obviously kept up with the team and everything like that. I'm just really grateful for this opportunity."
Horford later called Boston "a place I want to be," while also adding, "I’m happy it has been able to work out."
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Horford is 35 years old, so he's not going to be a core piece for the Celtics like he was when he signed in 2016. But the five-time All-Star still is very capable of being an effective player.
He averaged 14.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game for the Thunder last season, while shooting 36.8 percent from 3-point range. He's still an above average low-post defender and his basketball IQ remains high. Horford should be an excellent mentor for up-and-coming C's center Robert Williams, too.
A motivated and healthy Horford would be a tremendous addition to the Celtics roster next season.