Al Horford has the support of at least one former Celtic as Paul Pierce defended Horford’s decision to explore other opportunities outside of Boston.
“A lot of these guys when they get in their late 20’s or early 30’s and they know there’s light at the end of the tunnel, they try to maximize their dollars,” Pierce told MassLive.com. “So if there’s an opportunity for Al Horford to get more money, I’m sure that’s something you have to look into.”
Pierce also explained that Horford may want to move on from Boston because the Celtics haven’t won a title during his three seasons with the team.
“It might have been different if they won a championship with him here, but they didn’t win a championship and now he’s at the point where this is his last big contract,” Pierce said. “You gotta understand the player is always going to do what’s best for them and their family.”
Horford initially declined his $30.1 million player option with the hopes of working out a new three-year deal with Boston in July, ESPN reported Tuesday.
However, it was later reported that though the two sides discussed contract scenarios the gap was too large for the Celtics and Horford to reach an agreement. Instead, he wants to find a three- or four-year deal from a different team.
“It’s something that I haven’t even stopped to think about,” Horford said about free agency last month (via MassLive.com). “I’ve enjoyed being here in Boston. Just have to wait and see what we’re going to do as a team. And it’s steps that the management is going to do moving forward and continue to get better.”
Horford, 33, is coming off a season in which he averaged 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting 53.5% from the floor and 36 percent from 3-point range. He helped the Celtics to a 49-33 record, but they were eliminated from the playoffs early by the Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Star Kyrie Irving will also be a free agent this summer and it’s been reported that his chances of re-singing with the Celtics are low.