OKLAHOMA CITY — Former Celtics center Al Horford did not get a chance to face his former team Saturday, as the Oklahoma City Thunder decided to shelve the 34-year-old former All-Star for the rest of the season as the organization seeks an offseason trade. Horford was acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers in the offseason in a trade that sent Danny Green to the 76ers and Dennis Schroder to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Horford opted out of the final year of his contract with the Celtics to sign a four-year, $109 million contract with the 76ers. But Horford never fit into Philadelphia’s system and had trouble playing with franchise center Joel Embiid. Horford played 28 games with the Thunder, averaging 14.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 36.8 percent from the 3-point line. Horford is signed through 2022-23 and has $53 million remaining on his contract, making it challenging to move Horford. And with two years left on his contract, Horford was an unlikely buyout candidate.
“When I arrived, I understood the direction of the team, we had a great individual plan in place for me, and I feel like as a result I’ve played really good basketball for the Thunder,” Horford said in a statement. “At the same time, I know what it’s like to be a young, aspiring player, and at this point in the season I understand how important playing meaningful minutes is for their careers and their development.
“I also understand how important it is for the organization to give them that opportunity. I’m looking forward to supporting the guys who supported me, watching them continue to play the right way and play together as we have throughout the season, while still being around the team and continuing my training.”