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As news of Udoka’s transgressions spread across sports outlets that day, so did a swell of support for Long on social media as the disgraced coach issued a statement apologizing to players, fans and his family for letting them down. “I literally felt like my heart had jumped out of my body,” she recalls of the media blitz. “And then what I found was this tribe of women and men who were standing up for me in a way that felt like I was in this bubble of protection, and that was very comforting.”
“Al is such an important part of our team,” said Brad Stevens, President of Basketball Operations. “He’s a high-level player who enhances everyone around him on both ends of the court. His work ethic, commitment to his body and craft, and his unselfishness set a daily example on how to win big in the NBA. His leadership has had a big impact on the coaches and players with whom he’s competed here in Boston, and we’re excited that he and his family are choosing to remain Celtics for years to come.”
The truth for Williams is that the restricted free agent market is generally a tough spot for a role player like him given the limited cap room available for other teams to spend and an unwillingness for teams to put out offer sheets that could tie up their flexibility. The Celtics already knew this leading to their stance in negotiations but they now protect themselves further by having their top two bigs in Horford and Rob Williams locked up. Boston will want to keep Williams but they can feel better about doing so on their terms.