BOSTON (CBS) — Celtics fans are still hurting from Al Horford’s departure. His heartfelt farewell to Boston may help a little bit.
Horford opted out of his final year with Boston and was expected to rejoin the club on a new three-year deal, but that did not come to fruition. Instead, the 33-year-old signed with Boston’s division rival, the Philadelphia 76ers, a move that stunned and shocked C’s fans.
Horford was an integral part to Boston’s success over the last three seasons, a key player on the floor and an important veteran voice in the locker room. He was a fan favorite in Boston, and while fans will certainly miss him, they aren’t too mad at him for accepting a four-year, $109 million deal from Philly. (It helps that the move cleared the way for Boston to sign Kemba Walker to a max contract.)
The big man showed a lot of class and respect for his former team and city, sending out a heartfelt farewell to Boston and Celtics fans on social media on Wednesday.
“You welcomed me with open arms 3 years ago. We had a goal to raise another banner in the rafters. We fell short of that goal. I appreciate everyone in Boston. Ownership, front office, coaches and teammates. Most important, thank you to all the fans. Thank you Boston,” the message read.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens discussed the loss of Horford during Tuesday night’s Summer League game in Las Vegas, sounding pretty bummed that he would no longer have the veteran forward in the mix.
“We loved Al, we wanted him back,” said Stevens. “Again, it’s his choice. He can go do what he wants to do and there’s a lot of factors that end up helping these guys make those decisions. But he’s a heck of a player and did a great job here in the three years he was here.”