Horford signed with Boston for four seasons. He opted out of the fourth to sign a new four-year deal with Philadelphia. This marked the strangest thing this pragmatic pro has done. If any team didn’t need Al Horford, it was Philly. He joined a hulking roster that included Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris. That was the NBA season that was halted by COVID-19 and resumed in the Orlando bubble. The 76ers were swept in Round 1 by, er, Boston.
Realizing its error, Philadelphia traded him to Oklahoma City, which was tanking/rebuilding. With 28 games remaining, the Thunder told Horford to take the rest of last season off. He was 34, having worked for four clubs over five years. Now he was deemed superfluous to a bad team’s needs. Had the proud Horford become a journeyman?
Nope. In a mutual asset-dump, Boston sent Kemba Walker to OKC for Horford. With Robert Williams growing into a serviceable center, the Celtics needed a stretch-4 to complement gifted wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. On Jan. 6, they were 18-21. They went 33-10 thereafter. They entered the playoffs as the East’s No. 2 seed. As of Wednesday morning, they were tied 2-2 with Milwaukee, the reigning champ.
Horford has averaged 15.9 points and 9.4 rebounds this postseason, not far off career bests. He has made 56.5% of his shots and 53.5% – whoa! – of his 3-pointers. He scored 30 points, a…