At the conclusion of the 2018-19 NBA season, the Boston Celtics appeared primed and ready to negotiate a new contract with center Al Horford. However, the big man opted out of his deal in order to join a new team, which turned out to be the Philadelphia 76ers.
And the Celtics were not happy about that.
During the July 18 episode of The Hoop Collective Podcast, ESPN's Brian Windhorst stated that the Celtics "were stomping their feet" over what they believe was tampering from the 76ers in the signing of Horford.
"I don't know if you heard this, but the Celtics were, from what I am told, one of the teams that kind of stomped their feet about what they felt was tampering," said Windhorst, via The Hoop Collective Podcast. "Not with Kyrie, although that looked like it was lined up pretty far in advance, but with Horford."
"What happened with Horford, again from what I'm told, really upset the Celtics. They were thinking they were going to be able to negotiate with him," Windhorst continued. "Talk to him about a new contract and all of a sudden it was like he already knew what his market was and he was out of there."
It's a bit interesting, to say the least, that the Celtics are crying foul over Horford making up his mind to sign with the 76ers. How so? From where we're sitting, Boston essentially did the same thing with new point guard Kemba Walker.
Days prior to the opening of the free agency window, the Celtics essentially negotiated a deal with Walker, while he was technically still a member of the Charlotte Hornets. That deal would later become a sign-and-trade with the Hornets.
Horford ended negotiations with the Celtics, opting for a four-year deal as opposed to the three-year deal Boston was preparing for him. Philadelphia jumped on the opportunity, and signed him to a four-year, $109 million contract.
When it comes to NBA Free Agency, there are always some form of shenanigans and tampering. Philadelphia did it with Al Horford, and Boston did it with Kemba Walker. Now, can we all settle down?