When Dwight Howard agreed to terms with the Atlanta Hawks, their superstar Al Horford did not want any part of it so he decided to jump ship and move to Boston to sign with the Celtics. Rumors are swirling that Horford’s decision was mainly because he does not like playing with Howard.
As the Kevin Durant drama unfolded over the weekend, the Hawks hatched a plan and made sure that they get what they wanted. They managed to reach an agreement with Atlanta native Howard to a three-year $70.5 million contract and this was the signal for Horford to change alliance at once.
NBA free agency: Dwight Howard heading home to Atlanta, Al Horford leaving for Boston https://t.co/vxCOM7WnMw
— Joakim Noah (@JoakimNoahHub) July 3, 2016
Multiple sources tell me Al Horford is not a fan of the Dwight Howard signing. Could play major role in decision to stay with Hawks
— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) July 2, 2016
Horford managed to secure a four-year $113 million contract with Celtics. He turned down the Hawks offer of a five-year maximum worth $136 million. CBS Sports reported that Horford noted that the Hawks were reluctant in laying down their maximum offer and that that Hawks seemed bent on prioritizing Howard over him.
“He didn’t want to play with Dwight,” sources said.
Horford’s move to the Celtics was a welcome news to their locker room as the team’s young players could not wait to work with him at once. Terry Rozier told ESPN that Horford was one of the key players in the Hawks run last season and having him in the Celtics was a great acquisition this free agency season. Rozier added that Horford presence inside the paint brings more agility to the flow of their system.
“He’s one of the big names in free agency, so that’s great for our team. [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] seemed really happy [Sunday,] so it’s real good for our team. [Horford is] definitely a big body in the paint. He can definitely score, he can stretch and shoot a lot of 3s. I’ve been watching Al Horford since Florida, one of my favorite college teams, so I’m a big fan. He didn’t have to do much to impress me. But, like I said, he played a good role for them and he was great,” Rozier explained.
— Al Horford (@Al_Horford) July 5, 2016
Celtic Pride!!!!!! 🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀
— Al Horford (@Al_Horford) July 2, 2016
As the Celtics welcome Horford, Howard on the other end stated that he is willing to learn from Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer. Howard has express willingness to be coached and to improve his free throw shooting as well. AJC.com reported that Howard told Charles Barkley on TNT’s Inside the NBA that he wanted to grow as a player and improve.
“I’m always interested in winning,” Howard said on the broadcast. “As a big, sometimes you want to feel a part of what is going on. If I could bring the ball up the court, shoot 3’s, dribble between my legs, do all that stuff, that would be great. But I have to rely on my teammates in certain aspects to get the ball. Now, there have been times when I’ve gotten upset and taken myself out of games and situations. That’s on me. And I have to grow and be a better player at that. I’m always interested in the game.”
It seems some players like Horford are not at ease playing with Howard at the same time. Since all of the teams have moved on from the Durant series that has seen him with the Golden State Warriors, Both Howard and Horford have also moved on as they have already agreed to sign up with the Hawks and Celtics, respectively.
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