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Al Horford has been a big part of the Boston Celtics’ run to the NBA Finals, and it appears the franchise plans to keep him on board for the 2022-23 season on his full salary.
Horford’s contract was guaranteed up to $19.5 million with Boston’s berth in the 2022 NBA Finals. If they win the finals, his salary for 2022-23 will increase to $26.5 million. However, MassLive’s Brian Robb reported Monday that the Celtics plan to give Horford a $26.5 million guarantee in the last year of his contract, regardless of whether the team wins the title or not.
The Celtics acquired Horford from the Oklahoma City Thunder ahead of the 2021-22 season and he has been solid in his second stint with the franchise.
During the regular season, Horford averaged 10.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.3 blocks in 69 games. In the playoffs, he was even better against some of the NBA’s toughest opponents, including Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bam Adebayo, averaging 11.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 blocks in 17 games .
Horford, who turns 36 on June 3, has never appeared in the NBA Finals after making 141 playoff games without making the league’s biggest stage. He ended that streak with a Game 7 win over the Miami Heat in Sunday’s Eastern Conference Finals.
Horford also put on a solid performance in Game 7, recording five points, 14 rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocks in the win. His Celtics teammates praised him after the win.
Jaylen Brown told reporters:
“No one deserves it more than this guy on my right. His energy, his demeanor. Coming in every day, being a pro, taking care of your body, being a leader. I’m proud to share this moment with a veteran, a mentor, a brother, a guy like Al Horford, man. He’s been great all season, my whole career actually. So I’m happy to be able to share this moment with someone like him.”
Based on his performance this season, there was little doubt that the Celtics should bring Horford back.
If he continues to impress in the NBA Finals against the Warriors, he will only have advanced his case to earn $26.5 million next season, regardless of the outcome.
Game 1 between the Celtics and the Warriors is scheduled for Thursday at the Chase Center in San Francisco.