Roster dysfunction led to five-time All-Star leaving Boston Celtics in 2019 free agency: Analyst

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics
Miami Heat v Boston Celtics / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages

The Boston Globe's Chad Finn believes the Boston Celtics lost Al Horford in 2019 free agency due to the roster dysfunction of the Kyrie Irving-led 2017-2019 teams.

"Remember the 2017-18 Celtics, with that loaded roster: Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Al Horford, Terry Rozier and Marcus Morris …Man, they were miserable, weren’t they? What an annoying, broken team that was," Finn wrote. "Half the roster seemed to be playing for a contract, and the other half for their own stats, with more than a little overlap on that particular Venn diagram.

"I’ll always believe the misery of that season, even more than the $103 million they threw his way, was the impetus for Horford leaving for the 76ers."

Horford signed with the Philadelphia 76ers but was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2020, and was back on the Celtics in 2021. Of course, Horford didn't have a role in either trade, but his career has made a complete renaissance since rejoining the Cs; perhaps because Boston has ridden itself of the players accused of having me-first agendas.

Everyone hated the 2018-19 Boston Celtics locker room

Gordon Hayward was the first to start retroactively burying the 2018-19 locker room, going on the "Podcast P" show with Paul George and explaining how everyone had a goal with none of those goals being a championship.

“We all had too many agendas,” Hayward said (h/t NESN). “The agenda to win the whole thing was not the main one. Not to blame anyone, either. It’s all human nature. There was too many of us in the exact same position. We all needed the ball. We all rocked with the ball."

Jayson Tatum was less PC talking about that group -- one that seemingly stalled his ascension to a perennial All-Star level.

“That (expletive) was terrible,” Tatum said (h/tMassLive), perThe Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “You guys saw it. We’ve all talked about it. It didn’t work out how we wanted it to, and we were a very talented team but it just didn’t mesh the way we wanted it to."

The 2018-19 Boston Celtics will forever live in infamy, and likely have more stories told about it than nearly any other non-championship Cs team in history.