|Celtics renounce Jared Sullinger’s qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent||07.10.16 at 1:53 pm ET|
It appears as though the Jared Sullinger era is drawing to a close in Boston.
The Celtics backtracked on the qualifying offer they made the 24-year-old big man, renouncing the offer and making him an unrestricted free agent. He’s now able to sign with any team. The decision by the Celtics was first reported by RealGM’s Keith Smith.
Taken No. 21 overall by the Celtics in the 2012 draft, the Sullinger era was a tumultuous one in Boston to say the least. At times, he was a valuable body in the low post who could occasionally shoot from the perimeter, and other times — this past postseason against the Hawks — was totally absent.
This season he averaged 10.3 points per game with 8.3 rebounds, with the latter being a career high for him.
At 6-foot-9, 260 pounds, Sullinger’s time in Boston was often characterized by his big frame, in which he was constantly overweight and out of shape and often possessed a poor, lazy attitude at multiple points, leading to him being benched.
Sullinger was originally offered a qualifying offer alongside Tyler Zeller on June 29, with Sullinger’s being valued at $3,695,169. The decision to renounce the qualifying offer will create needed cap space in the aftermath of the Al Horford signing.
Sullinger could still sign with the Celtics, but in light of the decision made today, the C’s would be offering much lower than what he’s is looking for.
|Al Horford marks new beginning with Celtics: ‘You have to consider this is a special place’||07.08.16 at 1:48 pm ET|
Even though Al Horford wasn’t officially a Celtic at the time of Friday’s introductory press conference due to his contract not being finalized, the mere image of the 6-foot-10 center sitting next to Wyc Grousbeck, Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens marked a big step in bringing Boston basketball back to prominence.
Stevens talked about how Horford’s shooting ability and size will help the Celtics offense.
“I think that [Horford’s] hard work and his adaptability to the way the game has been played in a lot of ways has just enhanced him even more by adding to what was probably one of the better mid-range shots in the league to extending that range and being not only a reasonable 3-point shooter, but a good 3-point shooter and a guy that is constantly thinking about now adding to perfecting that,” Stevens said. “I think that anytime that you have the opportunity to pop, roll or play in the seam [off the pick-and-roll] is a huge advantage and he is excellent at all three and the numbers bear that out. We play through our bigs a lot and that is something we have desire to continue to do. It is great from a fit standpoint in a lot of ways, but certainty in the way that we play.”
More importantly, Horford marks the first big-name free agent the Celtics have been able to attract — and Horford indicated he expects more will follow.
“It is a great organization. There is a lot of history here. I feel like everyone around the league respects it, we acknowledge it and that is a big part of the reason why I chose to come here,” Horford said. “In years to come I feel like this will open the doors for many other big free agents. You have to consider this is a special place and I think people that are open to it they will see how special this place is.”
|Danny Ainge, C’s brass welcome Al Horford to Boston: ‘He plays with a passion that is contagious to his teammates’||at 11:25 am ET|
Friday’s press conference to introduce free agent forward/center Al Horford started on a curious note, as Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck announced after a 40-minute delay that the paperwork on Horford’s deal is not finalized, making him a “pending” acquisition.
Horford, who reportedly agreed to a four-year deal worth $113 million to join the C’s, did not sound like a player who had concerns about a holdup with his contract, saying he’s looking forward to a new challenge.
“I always admired the Celtics from afar, just how everything gets carried over here, and how committed the team and the city is to winning and doing things the right way,” he said. “I’m very, very excited, and I can’t wait to get started. I know we have a lot of work ahead. So that really excites me.”
Horford played all 82 games for the Hawks last season, averaging 15.2 points and 7.3 rebounds. The 30-year-old helped the Hawks end the C’s season in the opening round of the playoffs.
Said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge: “He plays the way that great Celtics in the past have played. He plays with a passion that is contagious to his teammates. He’s a player that can fit with all sorts of different players. He can play outside, he can play inside, on both ends of the court. But he is a player that watching him play against us in the playoffs this year and flying around and contesting shots and bringing an energy and passion, I think he is a player that our fans will fall in love with. And his teammates will fall in love with. And our coach will fall in love with him as well.”
Coach Brad Stevens said Horford’s legacy of success on the court should have a big impact on the young Celtics.
“The best thing that I can say about a basketball player as a person is that he constantly enhances his teammates on the floor,” Stevens said. “And the No. 1 thing that his career has been defined by is winning. That goes back to his days in college [at Florida]. That goes obviously through the nine years in Atlanta, leading Atlanta to the playoffs in every single one of those years. For us to have an opportunity here with a person who has achieved all that he’s achieved, who has not only the ability to help your team on the court with everything that he does well but also an ability to lead what is a still fairly young team in the way that you prepare, the way that you carry yourself and everything else. I don’t think that there is a better example out there for our players. So we’re thrilled, and I’m thrilled.”
|Report: Kevin Durant tells teams free agency decision to come by Monday; Clippers reportedly out||07.03.16 at 9:46 am ET|
According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, Kevin Durant told the teams he is meeting with in The Hamptons this weekend that his decision on which team he will sign with will come by Monday.
Additionally, according to the L.A. Times, the Clippers have been informed it won’t be with them.
This means the Celtics still at least have a chance at the superstar, which got even more intriguing on Saturday when the team signed Al Horford, especially after it was learned Durant tried to recruit Horford to come to Oklahoma City.
The Celtics met with Durant on Saturday and brought along Tom Brady, who reportedly make a strong pitch.
For more Celtics news, visit weei.com/celtics.
|Celtics agree with former Hawks big man Al Horford on 4-year, $113 million deal, land marquee free agent||07.02.16 at 7:24 pm ET|
Al Horford is coming to the Celtics, and he wants everyone to know it.
The free agent big man agreed to a four-year, $113 million contract on Saturday night and immediately took to his official Twitter account to celebrate.
Celtic Pride!!!!!! 🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀
— Al Horford (@Al_Horford) July 2, 2016
Eagle-eyed Celtics fans will notice exactly 18 shamrocks in that tweet. That’s the number the C’s will have if they win another one.
Horford, 30, averaged 15.7 points and 7.3 rebounds last year. He helped lead the Hawks past the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs in six games before being swept out of the playoffs by the Cavaliers.
The four-time All-Star gives the Celtics something they’ve lacked during the Brad Stevens era — a mobile big man who can defend the rim as well as the pick and roll, while also scoring inside, from medium range, and even from 3-point land.
He’s considered a winning player who does all the little things, from passing out of double teams to setting solid screens. He helped lead the Hawks to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference in 2014-15 and a trip to the conference finals, where they fell to the Cavaliers.
Horford’s arrival gives the Celtics a fighting chance on another front, as well. They met with free agent Kevin Durant on Saturday night in the Hamptons, and the two players are good friends. While the Celtics remain a long shot to sign Durant, Horford certainly helps their cause.
Not so fast on Al Horford, Celtics fans.
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski hears the Hawks believe they’ll be able to retain the free agent big man, who already has a max offer from the Celtics.
Sources: Boston, Washington falling back on Al Horford, with Hawks strengthening in belief that a deal can be reached to re-sign him.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 2, 2016
The problem is the most the Celtics can offer Horford is four years and $113 million, whereas the Hawks can extend to a fifth year and $153 million. To fit Horford on their roster, the Hawks would likely need to deal fellow big man Paul Millsap, and Wojnarowski reports the All-Star forward has drawn considerable interest.
If the Celtics lose out on Horford, they’ll have limited options in free agency … barring a miracle signing of Thunder All-Star Kevin Durant.
|Al Horford reportedly deciding between Celtics, Wizards; C’s said to ‘have a really good chance’||at 1:09 pm ET|
It appears the Celtics have a good chance at landing free agent Al Horford.
According to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics and the Wizards have become the favorites to sign Horford. The forward could sign a four-year, $113-million contract with the Celtics, as they were expected to issue a maximum offer.
The Boston Herald added the Celtics “have a really good chance to get him.” The organization met with Horford on Friday night and apparently the meeting went well.
The Celtics and the rest of the NBA will likely know what Horford decides Saturday night as that is what he’s telling teams, this according to The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
For more Celtics news, visit weei.com/celtics.
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