The Boston Celtics' brutal offseason delivered another blow tonight. Center Al Horford is no longer in talks on a new three-year deal to remain in Boston, according to multiple reports.
According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, Horford is "expected to sign" a four-year deal elsewhere. Earlier today, the 33-year-old center agreed to decline the $30 million player option on his current deal for 2019-20.
Even after that decision, there was hope for the Celtics that Horford would agree to remain in Beantown. However, those talks have now broken down.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski echoed Bulpett's report, though he mentioned the possibility of Horford signing a three-year deal elsewhere as well.
Horford may be getting up there in age, but he's still as well-rounded a center as you're going to find. This past season, he averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.5 blocks per game.
If the Celtics lose Horford, and Kyrie Irving walks, that would mean the two best players from their 2018-19 roster are gone. Additionally, the franchise could not swing a deal for Anthony Davis, as the Los Angeles Lakers ultimately won the bidding for the big man.
Boston still has an amalgam of quality role players (Marcus Smart, Aron Baynes) and young talent (Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum), plus Gordon Hayward hopefully returning to better form in his second year after a major leg injury.
However, the franchise's once-bright future is much murkier, and one has to wonder if its championship window has already closed.