A small Celtics contingent visited Horford last Friday night, then a larger pack that included New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Ainge, coach Brad Stevens, co-owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca and players Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk convened in the Hamptons to pitch Durant. And I'm very encouraged by the group of players that are here - a lot of young, hard-working, talented players. "Watching him play in the playoffs against us this year, flying around, contesting shots, bringing energy and passion - I think he is a player that our fans will fall in love with, and his teammates will fall in love with".
The thing I'm most impressed with of Horford is the guy is a "gamer". "Minutes later, we got a phone call from Al on Danny Ainge's cell phone, so he put him on speaker". "There wasn't as much motivation for him when he saw all the empty seats when they were winning", Tito Horford said. "We felt like we were rightfully the third seed in the Eastern Conference", said Ainge, whose team slipped to the fifth seed by virtue of a four-way tie-breaker in the crowded East. It was Horford's Hawks who eliminated Boston in six games in the opening round of the playoffs. "But we're not going to just lay down and die, I'll tell you that". I have a lot of respect for that organization and the fans there...
Asked how Golden State's collection of talent changes the landscape of the NBA, Ainge said it wouldn't alter Boston's plans to continue building a team capable of contending for a title. Both are recent first-round picks, and they are joined on the summer league team by five other players - Jaylen Brown, R.J. Hunter, Guerschon Yabusele, Jordan Mickey and Demetrius Jackson - who could be on Boston's roster next season. "During the offseason, I definitely talked to him and several other free agents". You now have 4 of the best 10 players in the National Basketball Association on one team (Curry, Durant, Thompson, Green), the pressure is at an all-time high now for the Bay Area, with a powerful West including teams such as San Antonio, OKC, Portland, and the LA Clippers so the road will not be easy.
The Celtics pulled out all the stops, including Ainge wearing a pair of Durant's signature shoes, which Durant noticed.
Boston Celtics C Jared Sullinger is an unrestricted free agent, and has not been signed by any team. "I have a lot of respect for this organization". "He wants to have as good a team as he can, and he gets it. He understands the league".
During a brief quiet moment during the question-and-answer portion of the press conference, Grousbeck pointed to a blank banner that hangs alongside the Celtics' 17 championship banners.
Horford is averaging 14.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 blocks for his career.