In order to develop their young core, the Oklahoma City Thunder have confirmed they will give more playing time to the younger players in the roster.
As a result of this, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowksi reported the five-time All-Star center Al Horford will no longer will be active for games this season.
Horford statement: “...I know what it’s like to be a young, aspiring player, and at this point in the season I understand how important playing meaningful minutes is for their careers and their development.”— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 27, 2021
Horford, who has averaged 14.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists this season, joined the Thunder on draft night in 2020 after signing with the 76ers on a four-year, $109 million free-agent deal in 2019.
The future looks bright for Oklahoma City though, considering they have 17 first-round and 17 second-round picks under control through the 2027 NBA draft.
"We've talked with Al (Horford) from the time he became a member of the Thunder this offseason about the many ways in which he would be able to help us as we entered the early stages of the necessary transition of our team," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement. "From day one Al has been a consummate professional and has had a tremendous influence on the team on and off the floor with his work ethic and total commitment to his teammates.
"Our conversations have been open and ongoing about how to maximize this season for him personally as well as the development of our team. Al has been nothing short of spectacular and will remain a part of the team as we build on an approach and mentality that we have taken for some time."
The 34 year-old still plans to remain with his Oklahoma City teammates and train at the team facility.
Aside from him being shut down for the remainder of the season, the Thunder also decided to sign Center Moses Brown on a multi-year contract.
Last season it was an in-season deal for Lu Dort, this season Oklahoma City announces an in-season deal for Moses Brown: pic.twitter.com/GsW4gdosmS— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 28, 2021