Al Horford sends a classy message to former Boston Celtics teammates

Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics - Game Five

The Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off the blockbuster trade of the summer as they swapped All-Star point guards Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas.

As part of the deal, the Cavs also acquired Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets' 2018 unprotected first-round pick.

The C's gave up some core pieces of their roster to bring in Irving and they will have a new look team to roll out next season.

The likes of Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and Amir Johnson have also moved on this summer which means that the Celtics team will only feature four players from last season - Al Horford, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier.

Thomas, Bradley and Crowder were certainly seen as the heart and soul of the team and along with Horford, they were the leaders and managed to secure top spot in the Eastern Conference ahead of the Cavaliers and went all the way to the conference finals.

Horford joined Boston in free agency last summer and was convinced by those players and the organisation to leave Atlanta where he had spent his entire nine-year NBA career.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Five

They believed he could play a huge role in helping them become the best team in the east and despite falling short of that target, he still made the right decision.

After that amazing run together last year, the four-time All-Star paid tribute to IT and Crowder in a heartfelt Instagram post.

"Much respect for these guys. They recruited me to come play to Boston and I'm a witness of how hard they played and competed not only for the team, but everything That being a Celtic embodies. Wish you guys the best on your new journey. Go Celtics!" he wrote.

It's very rare to see a franchise make such a huge overhaul to a roster that just made it to the conference finals, but it was necessary for them to do in order to bring in some legitimate stars.

Along with Kyrie, the Celtics were able to secure the most coveted free agent on the market this year in Gordon Hayward and the duo will add the star quality the team has been looking for to seriously compete for championships.

While Horford was sad to see his former teammates depart, he also expressed his happiness to welcome Irving to Boston.

With the promising Jayson Tatum, the number three pick in this year's draft, also in their ranks, the men in green will certainly have enough firepower to go toe to toe with Cleveland and harbour real aspirations of making it to the Finals.

Luckily for us, we won't have to wait too long for the first meeting between the two teams as they'll go head to head in the opening game of the new season on 17 October at Quicken Loans Arena.

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