Al Horford on return to Celtics: I’m really grateful to be back

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Al Horford referred to as his return to the Boston Celtics “surreal” a number of instances at his (re?) introductory press convention on Thursday. In Brad Stevens’ first transaction as Celtics President of Basketball Operations, Boston acquired Horford, Moses Brown and a 2023 second-round choose from the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder for Kemba Walker, the sixteenth choose within the 2021 NBA Draft and a 2025 second-round choose.

Horford expressed his gratefulness for the commerce that introduced him again to Boston, saying “Initially, I’m actually, actually completely happy to be again. I actually admire how particular of a spot Boston is. Being away, I understand how particular town is and the way particular the workforce is to town.”

Horford talked about that when he left for the Philadelphia 76ers throughout 2019 free company, the Celtics have been coming off a disappointing season. He stated he didn’t anticipate to get the chance to return to Boston, however that he now has a “recent begin”.

In speaking about how issues are totally different this time round, Horford talked about his function is to help the workforce’s younger gamers. He stated his job is to ask “What can I do? What’s my objective?” in serving to the workforce win.

During the last two seasons, whereas with the Sixers and the Thunder, Horford stated he discovered to “reappreciated the sport”, whereas embracing his function as a veteran chief.

One participant Horford was requested about mentoring particularly is Celtics huge man Robert Williams. Horford’s a fan of the younger huge, saying “I used to be actually impressed together with his enchancment this yr. Seeing him develop and the issues he can do, and seeing him actually perceive the sport. It’s refreshing to see his development. He’s going to proceed to get higher. I’m going to be in his ear.”

Horford stated that Williams and Jayson Tatum have been two of the numerous former and new teammates who reached out to him when information of the commerce broke. Horford stated “It was nice to have that. It was an thrilling time for me to undergo all that. Immediately, I’m considering forward about all the things we have to do.”

On what must be performed, Horford’s thoughts is already centered on the 2021-22 season. He’s already in Boston and stated he’s seen a number of of his teammates on the Auerbach Heart (Boston’s observe facility) placing in work. Horford pressured that preparing for the subsequent season begins now: “We simply have to put ourselves in place to be prepared bodily and mentally. Lastly, we’re going to have a standard season. To be the workforce we need to be, we have to put within the work now.”

As he heads into his fifteenth season, Horford stated that one of many largest issues he’s discovered is how vital this a part of the NBA calendar is to being prepared for the upcoming season. Horford thanked the Oklahoma Metropolis medical employees for getting him to an ideal place bodily over the previous yr. He stated he feels extra bodily prepared for the 2021-22 season than he normally does through the offseason.

Horford famous that he’ll work with the Celtics coaches and coaching employees, however that he feels there must be no limitations on him taking part in back-to-back video games within the upcoming season.

As for the teaching employees, Horford expressed his pleasure to play for Ime Udoka, who’s reported to be Stevens’ alternative to interchange himself on the Celtics sidelines. Horford was with Udoka in Philadephia for a season, when Udoka was an assistant on Brett Brown’s employees. Horford stated about Boston’s new coach: “We had an ideal relationship. We spent a variety of time speaking about protection and coverages and issues I really feel like work and issues he looks like work. I’m excited for what he brings and the way he may also help our group.”

As for his personal recreation, Horford stated he feels he nonetheless as the flexibility to play each the 4 and the 5, however that he’s not married to taking part in the 4: “I really feel like I can play a number of positions nonetheless, however no matter coach wants me to do. In the event that they want me on the 5, that’s fantastic. I’m going to do no matter coach wants.”

Horford stated when he initially signed with the Celtics in 2016 that “Once I left Atlanta, Danny (Ainge) and Brad (Stevens) bought me on the tradition and profitable banner 18. I embrace that and look ahead to attending to work.”

Horford looks like he left Boston with some unfinished enterprise, and that he’s “simply completely happy to come back again and end what I began right here.”

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