5 Celtics who are playing for their future in Boston

These Celtics are playing for their place with the franchise down the stretch.

Boston Celtics, Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday
Boston Celtics, Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages
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4. Al Horford

Horford has proven to be a crucial piece for the Celtics, but how much longer can they count on him? He turns 38 years old this summer and is in his 17th NBA season. The 6’9 forward is still productive but is playing the fewest minutes per game of his career. Boston will need him to ramp up in the playoffs, especially if Kristaps Porzingis has to miss time. Can he still play 30-plus every night?

Horford’s floor spacing, rim protection, and versatility make him unique. Every contender wants a big man capable of deterring shots at the rim and sinking 40 percent from 3-point range. The veteran also rebounds well and makes plays. Boston is not finding a similar replacement.

The second tax apron will restrict how the Celtics can improve their roster, but it is fair to question how many more years Al Horford plays. He is under contract for $9.5 million next season. Boston will likely bring him back, but can he still play a crucial role on a team with title aspirations?

Fans should be watching his play closely down the stretch and into the playoffs. The Boston Celtics need him to guard big men like Joel Embiid and space the floor on the other end. Hopefully, Al Horford remains up to the task.