Boston Celtics biggest free agent acquisition Al Horford, who came over from the Atlanta Hawks, is excited about the 2016-2017 NBA season, his new team and Boston’s potential, which he believes is championship worthy.
Although he admitted his first practice with Boston was a little strange, Horford exuded confidence and excitement about his new home.
“It’s definitely a weird feeling, but I feel good,” Horford said. “It feels right to be here.
“I took a chance on coming here, because I believe in the type of guys we have here in the organization and the potential there is. So that’s why I’m here, and I have a lot of respect for a lot of these players.”
Count teammate Jae Crowder as one of the many people around the organization that is excited for the addition of Horford.
“It’s no coincidence that, wherever he goes, he wins,” Crowder said. “He’s a winner. It’s good to see him on our side.”
“‘Our style of play fits how you play’ — we stressed that [to Horford],” Crowder said. “We were just stressing like, ‘You don’t have to change anything in your game. Bring whatever you brought to Atlanta. Bring that with you, and you’re going to be fine.'”
“Even though I was in Atlanta last year and we beat the Celtics in the playoffs, I was very impressed with how hard the guys played and how good the team could be under Coach Stevens and just what I saw from the group,” Horford said.
“It just really intrigued me, and when the free-agency process came around, at the beginning I would say I was very comfortable with Atlanta, but, as the time kept going on and I met with the Celtics, it just became real to me,” Horford said.
One of the things that appealed to Horford was the Celtics’ young core which includes Crowder and Isaiah Thomas.
“Looking at my career at this point, I’m going into my 10th year and want to be able to be a part of something special and win a championship. With the type of guys that we have here, we have that possibility, and that’s something I wanted to be a part of.”
“When we were recruiting him, I was like, ‘It’s sunny all the time!'” Thomas joked.
“He deserved that contract,” Thomas said. “It’s a lot of money. If we go out for team dinners he can pay for everything. Around Christmas, we’re looking forward to really nice gifts.”
“He’s going to help us in so many ways” Thomas continued. “These last couple of weeks [before training camp] I was able to work out with him and play 5-on-5. He’s so unselfish.
“He knows how to make the right play out of the pick-and-roll. He can help us in a lot of ways, not just offensively but defensively. He’s someone we needed. I’m excited to be going with him.”
“The guys had a really good year last year here,” Horford said. “We have some great leaders here already, and I just want to be able to come in and help our team grow, just get acclimated as fast as I can and help us be a better team. That’s basically what I’m here to do. I want us to grow as a team and be better.”
“We all know the situation of the flexibility and all the future draft picks and all that stuff,” Horford said. “That was there. But, for me, just the guys that we have here, the group that’s here, is what I felt good about with Coach Stevens, playing under his system.
“I feel like one of [Stevens’] strengths is passing, and I feel like the bigs in this offense handle the ball a lot, and that’s something that excited me, just the thought of putting those things together and then being in a place like this. It’s a special place.”