News recently broke pertaining to Al Horford’s decision to decline his player option for next season with the Boston Celtics. Initially, it was believed that the five-time All-Star was looking to sign a longer deal with the C’s, but now, reports are saying that Horford sees his future elsewhere.
Despite now being 33 years of age and no longer the dominant big man he once was, Horford is still a top-tier center in the league. This makes him a very viable option to a number of teams, and is the very reason why he is expected to be one of the hottest prospects on the market once he officially hits free agency.
Below, we have identified three teams that might prove to be ideal landing spots for Horford next season. Analysts predict that the 6-foot-10 big man will demand a deal somewhere in the $100 million range for four years, and these three teams have enough cap room to offer Horford this much money.
The Brooklyn Nets have been mentioned as one of Horford’s potential destinations this summer. He would be a great addition to this up-and-coming team, as their dire need for an upgrade in the frontcourt was utterly exposed by Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs. Horford would be able to properly fill this need for the Nets, who will be looking to further improve on last year’s impressive run.
Notably, Brooklyn is also deemed to be Kyrie Irving’s preferred destination, which means that a Horford-Irving reunion might just be in the books. The Nets would be losing D’Angelo Russell in this scenario in order to create the cap room, but they would surely live with that to make this work.
Los Angeles Lakers
With the New Orleans Pelicans recently agreeing on a deal to ship cornerstone superstar Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Lakers have become one of the favorites to win it all next season. This being the case, the Lakers have become an even more enticing destination for any free agent, as this would likely give them the highest probability of winning a championship ring.
The Lakers have a lot of cap room and are working to create a full max slot, so they should be able to accommodate Horford’s salary. On paper, this is definitely something that could work. A frontcourt pairing of Horford and Davis — with LeBron James acting as the team’s primary playmaker — would be a sight to behold.
Los Angeles Clippers
Aside from the Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers have also emerged as one of the top free-agent destinations this summer. Their biggest target is none other than recently crowned two-time Finals MVP winner Kawhi Leonard, who reportedly also has mutual interest in moving back to his hometown of L.A.
Kawhi is one of the top players in the league right now, and similar to what makes a move to the Lakers so appealing, the Clippers’ championship aspirations is also something that might lure Horford. However, this could rely heavily on Leonard’s decision, which at this point, is anything but certain. Winning a championship with Toronto will definitely make Kawhi think twice about turning his back on something so good, and this will ultimately have a tremendous impact on L.A.’s future, including the likelihood of signing win-now type of free agents such as Horford.
As mentioned earlier, Horford is going to be a hot commodity, and he will definitely have no shortage of suitors in the offseason. In fact, we could even name another three to five more teams that could also be a good landing spot for this tenured big man. Moreover, he could even do a complete U-turn and re-sign with the Celtics. Whatever the case may be, the only thing that is certain right now is that Horford’s future is completely in his hands.
He will, however, need to think long and hard about the decision he is going to make, as this will likely be the final big-money deal he will be receiving in his career. If he is indeed able to secure a four-year contract, he will be 37 once his new deal expires, and by then, he will probably be considering retirement.
This being the case, this will undoubtedly be one of the most important decisions Al Horford will need to make in his career, as his future is literally riding on how this summer turns out for him.