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Monday, December 16, 2019

Danny Ainge on Al Horford signing with rival 76ers: ‘It’s a different era’

Al Horford

The Celtics could have found a way to bring back Al Horford after signing Kemba Walker if the big man wanted to remain in Boston, but Horford chose to sign with the rival 76ers. While Danny Ainge understands the decision, he doesn’t think it is one many players would have made 30 or 40 years ago.

Ainge was asked about Horford signing a four-year deal with Philadelphia during an appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich Show” Thursday morning, and he had an interesting response.

“It’s a different era. I can’t imagine that would have ever happened in my time of playing, but it’s a different world that we live in,” the Celtics GM said. “There doesn’t seem to be those same kinds of rivalries. There’s rivalries with the fans, but sometimes not as much with the players.”

It made sense that Horford wanted to leave after Kyrie Irving decided to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, as it looked like the Celtics had little chance of remaining competitive in the Eastern Conference. However, many thought he would change his mind after they landed Kemba Walker. That didn’t happen.

Ainge said part of Horford’s motivation for leaving was that he wants to play the four more than the five, and he will be able to do that almost exclusively in Philly. That said, the Celtics and 76ers have a long history with one another that Joel Embiid referenced when they met in the playoffs two years ago. It had to have stung a bit for Ainge to lose a top player to Philly.

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