Durant Sells Out, Celtics Cash Out

Apr 28, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) shoots the ball against Boston Celtics guard Evan Turner (11) during the second half in game six of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 28, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) shoots the ball against Boston Celtics guard Evan Turner (11) during the second half in game six of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports /

Celtics Moves Transcend the Loss of Kevin Durant

This NBA free agency period has been something to watch since this hot July began. We’ve seen big max-contract signings, along with surprising bench players earning themselves money you wouldn’t dream about them receiving. The Boston Celtics are a team that you would call “winners” of the first opening days of free agency.

To keep it short and sweet, the Celtics signed big man C Al Horford to a big deal, waved goodbye to G Evan Turner as the Portland Trailblazers overpaid the bench player. Then of course what happened on the 4th of July, the Celtics lost out on the “Kevin Durant Sweepstakes” to the Golden State Warriors who I believe might not lose a game this season. Here is my take on how these moves will affect the green come time to get back on the court in October.

Al Horford

The Boston Celtics found their big man!! We have said it for a couple of years now, this squad needs a big man in order to contend in the Eastern Conference. We saw time and time again last season the Celtics losing games because they were out-rebounded, out-played but other teams bigs. On Sunday, former Atlanta Hawks C Al Horford signed a 4-year deal worth $113 million dollars. Horford averaged 15.2 PPG, 7.3 RPG, along with 3.2 APG for the Hawks last season.

The Atlanta Hawks had maintained their intention to retain Horford, but were reportedly unwilling to give Horford the full max. The move is a major key for the Celtics, who were in search of a star-caliber player, while the Hawks who lose arguably their best player. The 6-foot-10 9-year veteran from the University of Florida is a fantastic fit for the green. Horford’s a smart-passing, smooth-touch big man who can finish inside, shoot from the perimeter, set great screens and play great defense. He makes everyone around him better, in my mind especially Isaiah Thomas with his combination of size and aggressiveness. Horford can hurt teams with the pick and pop, exploit rotations to Thomas or the other Celtics’ guards with short dunk cuts, spot up baseline, or score in the post. He had to have been the most versatile big man on the market by far and one of the most versatile bigs in the league.

The thing I’m most impressed with of Horford is the guy is a “gamer”. He’s been in the playoffs every season he’s been in the league, won two National Championships with Florida the guy is a born winner. You can’t teach a player how to win, or want it as bad as someone who consistently is always in postseason play, and his physique will just propel this ball club into a team that will be trying to make it out of the First Round of the NBA Playoffs since 2012.

For any Celtics fan out their it was what Horford’s father Tito’s comments about his son’s decision to sign with Boston. “There wasn’t as much motivation for him when he saw all the empty seats when they were winning,” Tito Horford said. “He said to me, ‘Dad, when we were playing Boston, they were down 15 points and they were cheering their team like they were winning the game. They’re so into the game.’ This is special for us, especially for him”.

Everyone knows that the city of Boston with there four historic professional sports teams (Bruins, Celtics, Patriots, Red Sox) possesses the title of “The City of Champions”. If you’re a local Bostonian like myself you take deep pride in that title, and with our beloved fans giving it their all for these teams, there is nothing else like it. Surprised that pitch didn’t do it for KD, oh well.

PS: Al, I saw you take way to many 3-pointers in last years playoff series, lets leave that to IT and Bradley and stick to what you do best which is boards and buckets.

Kevin Durant

F Kevin Durant is expected to sign a two-year, $54.3 million contract with the Golden State Warriors, sources told ESPN’s Marc Stein. The deal will include a player option after the first year. Durant expressed the decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder where he has played his first 9 seasons in the NBA was “by far the most challenging few weeks in my professional life”, released in the Players Tribune on July 4th that he wasn’t going to return to OKC. As a Celtics writer I was not surprised that he didn’t choose to go to Boston going into last weekend.

Once the Celtics signed Horford, my faith skyrocketed and thought that “Hey, anything is possible”, especially signing a max-player like Horford might linger KD toward the “City of Champions”.  I’m not mad at Durant leaving OKC to join the Golden State Warriors because he simply put the word “defeat” in his vocabulary after blowing a 3-1 series lead against his new team in the Western Conference Finals about a month ago. Critics say that his legacy is crushed because of this decision, where at the same time this guy known as LeBron James did the same thing in 2010 when he joined the Miami Heat with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to make it to 4 straight NBA Finals.

At the end of the day, when people look back at Durant’s legacy they’ll count how many rings he has on his finger, and this choice was the best opportunity to do so. You now have 4 of the best 10 players in the NBA on one team (Curry, Durant, Thompson, Green), the pressure is at an all-time high now for the Bay Area, with a powerful West including teams such as San Antonio, OKC, Portland, and the LA Clippers so the road will not be easy.

Finally the main point I was trying to get to express why I will never respect Kevin Durant for this move. The 6-9 Forward out of the University of Texas sat on a plane to the Hampton’s with God himself (Tom Brady). Brady sat in on Durant’s meeting with the Celtics and was rumored that his appearance was “very good” for the franchise.

What I expected was Brady to get in Durant’s face to tell him “You want to win these? (4 rings)”, “Then come here, and you will be worshipped forever.” How could someone in their right mind ignore Tom Brady’s greatness and just totally disregard what that man says. The guy is a 4-time Super Bowl Champion, has a smokin’ wife, and holds this region together when times are tough. Good riddance Kevin Durant, while you’re sitting their losing to Lebron once again next year in the Finals, Brady will be their court-side but won’t be able to hear a thing because his 5th ring will be making too much noise.

Other Celtics News

Former Celtics G Evan Turner agreed to a 4 yr/$70 million dollar deal with the Portland Trail Blazers earlier this week. The 6-year veteran out of Ohio State average 10.5 PPG, 4.4 APG, and 4.9 RPG last season for the Celtics, and stepped up big time for the green when F Jae Crowder went down. Although I may cringe every-time Turner shoots a three-pointer, or that he will make 18.5 million dollars a year, I appreciated his time in Boston because he stuck with it and became a success story when just about everyone counted him out.

Boston Celtics C Jared Sullinger is an unrestricted free agent, and has not been signed by any team. With the Durant Sweepstakes, Boston might take a chance in signing back Sullinger in a bench role. Sullinger averaged 10.5 PPG, and 8.3 RPG, the 6-foot-9 seems to keep getting better every year and in my eyes would be a good backup for Horford and hopefully F Amir Johnson as he also sorts his contract with the club.

Next: Celtics: No Durant, No Problem?

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