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#pounditThursday, December 8, 2022

Celtics already planning to bring back key player for next season

Ime Udoka looking on

Dec 25, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka looks on during the second quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics still have at least four more games to play this season, but one key player has already secured his spot on next year’s team as well.

Brian Robb of MassLive.com reported Monday that the Celtics are expected to fully guarantee the contract of center Al Horford for 2022-23, regardless of what happens in the Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

The 35-year-old Horford is under contract for $26.5 million next season but only $19.5 million of that is guaranteed at the moment. The guarantee was originally $14.5 million, but Horford just cashed on an incentive in his deal that guaranteed him another $5 million if Boston made the Finals this year. Horford can get that remaining $7 million guaranteed automatically if the Celtics win it all. But now it sounds like Horford will get his full guarantee, even if Golden State wins the title.

The five-time All-Star Horford has more than earned his keep these playoffs. He has proven to be a premier vertical defender for Boston and also adds an irreplaceable dimension with his playmaking, his timely rebounding, and his ability to space the floor by hitting the triple.

Sure, Horford’s numbers (10.2 points and 7.7 rebounds a game this regular season) won’t wow you, and sure, Horford’s sister will probably annoy you. But anybody on the Celtics or even anybody who follows the Celtics will (rightfully) swear up and down by Horford’s importance to the team.

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