The Boston Celtics have hit a rough patch in the season. They have lost six of their last 10 games, dropping their record to 15-15 on the season and into sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Danny Ainge could look to make a trade, but could an old familiar face in Al Horford be the target?
Injuries have played a big part in the team’s slump. Marcus Smart is sidelined with a calf injury and Romeo Langford has yet to take the court this season. Kemba Walker is still being integrated into the lineup, but has begun to show signs of life.
The biggest issue for Boston is that they aren’t getting much production from anyone other than their two All-Stars, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. For them to regain their form, someone else needs to step up. If not, Boston could look to add from the outside via trade.
The Celtics have a huge traded player exception courtesy of the Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade this past offseason. The TPE is worth $28.5 million and is something they could use to help bolster their roster.
Finding players to use the TPE on isn’t easy. The Celtics don’t have many assets left, as the treasure trove they built with help from the Brooklyn Nets has dried up. But, there are still some players they could target, such as a familiar face in Al Horford.
Horford has had a solid season for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He is second on the team with 14.5 points, adding 6.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. It has been a nice bounce-back after one disastrous season with the Philadelphia 76ers.
However, he doesn’t fit the Thunder’s timeline and they would love to cash in on his performance with more future assets.
Horford wouldn’t be your regular midseason acquisition, either. Usually, it takes time for a new player to acclimate himself to a new team. That wouldn’t be as difficult for Horford, who spent three seasons with the Celtics from 2016-2019.
He would help stabilize the center position for Boston and give them some different looks up front. He could slide over to power forward also given his ability to stretch the floor if Brad Stevens wanted to utilize a bigger lineup.
Boston hitting the reset button on allowing Al Horford to leave in free agency would be a smart decision for the team to make. As long as things aren’t awkward between him and the franchise, he makes for a great fit skill-wise with the Celtics.