Al Horford just smiled, unbothered by a former Boston Celtics teammate’s comments.
On Friday, Marcus Smart talked to reporters about how different the Celtics will be without the versatile center with perimeter skills. Boston now has a more traditional center in Enes Kanter after Horford signed with the 76ers as a free agent.
“It’s different, for sure. It’s definitely different,” Smart said. “But we have enough guys that can shoot the three that get on the court. We just need our bigs to be able to do what they do. That’s always been our problem.
"I love Al, but we sometimes need a threat at the rim with the big. In ways, it is different, but it also good in a certain way.”
Horford learned of Smart’s comments before Tuesday night’s exhibition game against the Guangzhou Long-Lions at the Wells Fargo Center. He wasn’t offended.
“That’s Marcus’ opinion,” he said. “Him and I go way back. I got nothing but love for Marcus. It’s his opinion. It’s fair. Everybody is entitled to say what [they want.]”
Joel Embiid appears to be satisfied with how things are progressing in the preseason. “We’ve been learning a lot, getting better,” he said of the Sixers. “So it has been great.”
In addition to learning to play with new teammates, Embiid is getting back into game shape. The All-Star center rehabilitated his left knee this summer.
He was scheduled to play only in the first half of Tuesday’s preseason opener. That came after Embiid played only in the first half of Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage.