The rumor swirling around the NBA and sports media was that free agents did not want to sign with the Boston Celtics. Boston was not an attractive destination for NBA free agents because of the weather or the lack of a celebrity culture. Well, over the Fourth of July weekend, Danny Ainge and the Celtics front office proved that they could promote Boston as a formidable destination for free agents well into the future.
Ainge landed free agent center Al Horford on Saturday afternoon. The 30-year-old center signed a four year max contract worth $113 million with the Celtics as they locked up their center for the foreseeable future. During last season’s trade deadline, Horford’s name came up as a potential trade target, but the Celtics backed off and chose to hold onto their assets. Despite losing to Atlanta in the first round of the playoffs, their patience was eventually rewarded.
After inking Horford, the Celtics then turned their attention toward the top prize of the free agent class in Kevin Durant. Even after an appearance from Tom Brady at Durant’s meeting with Boston, the Celtics were unable to lock up the superstar. Durant made the easy basketball decision and signed a two-year contract with the Golden State Warriors to build an absolute juggernaut of a basketball team.
While no team looks poised to challenge the Warriors, the Celtics have positioned themselves perfectly for the future. The Horford signing makes Boston a more attractive destination for next years’s free agent class headlined by Russell Westbrook and Blake Griffin. The Brooklyn Nets currently have one of the worst rosters in the NBA after they shipped Thad Young off to Indiana and the Celtics once again hold the rights to Brooklyn’s first round pick in next year’s draft. Maybe the Green land the first overall pick next year??
So now Durant will try out his “next chapter” on a team that had obvious chemistry problems in last year’s finals and the Celtics, as a finalist in landing Durant, have established themselves as a dark horse contender for the next handful of years.