Report: Celtics preparing for Irving, Horford to leave as free agents

Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving, left, has a laugh on the bench with Al Horford during the second half of Boston's 113-96 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in a preseason NBA basketball game in Boston, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. (Winslow Townson/AP)

The Boston Celtics are “preparing for the strong scenario” that Kyrie Irving and Al Horford will leave the team as free agents, Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting.

Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN are also reporting that Horford will be looking for a three- or four-year deal on the open market.

Earlier on Tuesday, Wojnarowski reported that Horford was declining his $30.18-million player option for the 2019-20 season.

The 33-year-old centre averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks on 53.5-per cent shooting from the field in 68 games for the Celtics last season, his 12th in the league and third in Boston.

Irving declined his $21.3-million option on June 12. Charania reported Tuesday that Irving will likely sign with the Brooklyn Nets this off-season.

The 27-year-old point guard averaged 23.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and five assists in 67 games last season, his second with the Celtics.

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