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Sixers’ Al Horford claims ‘opportunity to win now’ was hard to pass up

Al Horford, Sixers

Veteran big man Al Horford shocked the NBA world this past summer during his free agency, when he decided to leave the Boston Celtics, along with All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, and stay in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division, signing a four-year deal worth north of $100 million with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Sixers welcomed the 33-year-old, who will join a big frontcourt with All-Star center Joel Embiid. For the vet Horford, the ability to compete for a championship was very alluring.

Per Keith Pompey in The Philadelphia Inquirer:

The 33-year-old Horford said the thing that attracted him to the Sixers was their caliber of players, led by Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris. He felt the trio and the Sixers were close to taking the next step toward an NBA title. So competing alongside them and building relationships as teammates excited him. .

“The opportunity to win, I am going in my 13th season, that is important to me,” said Horford, who will get his minutes at center and power forward. “I feel we have an opportunity to win now and that was something that was hard for me to pass.”

The Celtics, Horford’s old team, were eliminated in the conference semi-finals for two consecutive seasons. Prior to his three-year stint in Boston, Horford was a staple at center for the Atlanta Hawks, originally being selected by the Southeast Division franchise with the third overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft after an accomplished collegiate career at Florida, where he won back-to-back NCAA titles under head coach Billy Donovan.

Horford now has another chance to compete for a title, with the Sixers this time. Philly took the eventual-champ Toronto Raptors to seven games in the conference semi-finals during the 2019 playoffs.