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Monday, February 24, 2020

Report: Celtics were bothered with Al Horford tampering

Al Horford

The Boston Celtics may have known that Kyrie Irving was going to leave the team in free agency, but they may have been more or less blindsided to learn that Al Horford was leaving too. And the Celtics reportedly were not happy with the apparent tampering that went on with the big man.

Speaking on his “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective Show” podcast that was published on Thursday, Windhorst said he was told the Celtics were bothered by the tampering surrounding Horford.

“Celtics were, from what I am told, one of the teams that kind of stomped their feet about what they felt was tampering. Not with Kyrie … but with (Al) Horford. What happened with Horford, from what I am told, really upset the Celtics. They were thinking that they were going to be able to negotiate with him, talk to him about a new contract, and all of a sudden it was like he already knew what his market was like and was out of there,” Windhorst said.

Word came out on June 18, nearly two weeks before the start of free agency, that Horford would not be returning to Boston because he had found a four-year contract elsewhere. Horford knowing prior to the start of free agency that he had a better offer than what Boston was offering is a clear sign there was tampering. But as the show hosts all pointed out, it seems inconsistent for Boston to complain about it in one instance and then benefit from it in another.

Recall that the Celtics were reported on June 25 and again two days later to be the leaders for Kemba Walker even though free agency still hadn’t begun. How would that information have gotten out if there weren’t some sort of tampering?

You can’t be OK with tampering when it benefits you and complain about it when it doesn’t. If anything, the Celtics just seem bitter that Horford left because it put them in a bad spot where they couldn’t recover. Celtics GM Danny Ainge seemed to make his anger clear when he complained on the radio about Horford leaving for a rival.

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