Article by: Peter Caceci
After spending 3 seasons with the Boston Celtics, Center Al Horford has declined the $30 million player option, claiming that he wants to test out the free agency market. This is not the first time a player has started rumors to leave this team. Throughout the 2018-19 season, Celtics PG Kyrie Irving seemed to distance himself from his team. This would cause chemistry problems with his teammates, who would ultimately perform better without him than if he was on the court. Not just with emotional issues, but key player injuries have been known to leave their mark on this team as well. Who remembers the Hayward snap?
This is very disappointing to see for the Celtics, not for me personally as a Sixers fan, but overall for losing this talent. After claiming Kyrie Irving from the Cavaliers in 2017 and Gordon Hayward from the Jazz, the Celtics began their rise to the top with their fast-paced play and clutch scoring. To helm this wild team, Brad Stevens brought with him intelligence and the ability to adapt under pressure. The team gelled almost immediately and would constantly fight for the #3 or #4 spots in the Eastern Conference. Now, it seems that this vibe is in a completely different area. If the Celtics lose both of these players, their young playmakers in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will have to step up in a big way.
For this article, I am going to do something different where I will include the opinions of some of the Heated Sports team on what they think will happen with the Celtics following the potential roster changes. I would like anyone to read this to also give their opinions on what might happen to the Celtics in the comment section below.
Harrison Weaver - Heated Sports NBA analyst and writer: “So Horford just opted out, I think it signals the beginning of the implosion. Their future now lies solely on whether or not Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, and Gordon Hayward can carry this team to success. It also depends on if Al Horford decides to come back. I see them being a middle seed in the East still if Irving and Horford leave. My prediction is that this is Stage 2 of the Celtics collapse, with Stage 1 being the underachieving and chemistry problems of this past season. I’m assuming that they’ll bring back Rozier now that he can finally be the starting PG with Kyrie leaving.”
Zach Henley - Heated Sports Podcast contributor and weekly writer: “I’m very happy, and interested with what is going on, especially now with some key pieces leaving. I wonder if Jayson Tatum can lead that team to success, because personally I think he’s overrated.”
Justin Imler - Founder of Heated Sports and podcast host: “I believe that they’ll still make the playoffs, but if both Kyrie and Horford are gone they’ll still be like a 6 or 7 seed at best. This is due to the East still being weaker than the West. Tatum and Brown will have to step up big time to lead this team back to what they were. To add to the confusion, Terry Rozier has stated on First Take that he’s leaving if they resign Kyrie. This most likely won’t happen, so he’ll be the starter.”
The questions that still stand though for our readers are what will happen if Kyrie does not leave the team? Can the young talent lead the team with Brad Stevens as coach? Will their draft picks make up for the lost players? What spot in the playoffs will this new team make next season? Again, comment below and put your opinion out there, especially if you're a Celtics fan.