News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. June 24, 2021: As the 2021 NBA season reaches its business end, recruitment and planning for the next season are already underway.
The first headline-making trade of the summer sees Kemba Walker join the Oklahoma City Thunder fresh off a season in which he aided the Boston Celtics in their push to the playoffs.
Heading the other way is a stash of draft picks, including the 21-year-old center Moses Brown and Al Horford, the 35-year-old born and raised in the Dominican Republic.
While no spring chicken, Horford, the five-time NBA All-Star still has plenty in the tank. While replacing Walker will be no small feat, Brad Stevens and his recruitment team have played a blinder in freeing up funds for more trades this summer – this deal saves them a reported $10 million per season.
And, make no mistake, Horford won’t let anybody down. His 2020-21 season ended prematurely, but he was still able to serve up 14.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game when on the court for Thunder.
“Al can move the needle,” Stevens said when quizzed on his latest signing. “Al had a good year in Oklahoma City – obviously didn’t play a ton of games, but statistically had a year that obviously applies across the board.”
Horford’s experience will prove invaluable for the Celtics, who have a young roster packed with star quality. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are both All-Stars with the world at their feet, and the steadying influence of Horford could help them to eke out another five percent in their game too. As ever, the Celtics will be among the dark horses for success in the 2021-22 NBA betting on bet365, and the addition of Horford will certainly help that push for the postseason.
For the Dominican center, Boston is not a destination he is unfamiliar with. He spent three years at the franchise from 2016 to 2019, reaching a pair of Eastern Conference finals along the way, and a return to a happy hunting ground is a smart move for the player and the team – Stevens, you may recall, was the Celtics’ coach during that strong run of form.
Moving Money Around
Adding a player of Horford’s class is one thing, but freeing up an estimated $34 million funds – from the Walker trade and other pieces of business – is another matter entirely.
In short, the Celtics could add a huge name to go with their already talented roster – another All-Star to join Brown, Tatum and, of course, Horford is an appetizing prospect indeed.
The trade games will begin soon enough, so let’s see if this modern-day legend gets linked with a move to Boston – Steph Curry.
Now, the chances are that he may stay in San Francisco for the rest of his career, but you do wonder how not making the playoffs will have shaken his belief in the Warriors. Top scoring in the NBA in 2020-21 and receiving a nod for the MVP Award, Curry remains a performer of the highest level, and his friendship with Brown and Tatum could perhaps sweeten the deal for a player entering the last year of his contract at the Warriors.
Stranger things have happened and will continue to happen this summer.