Al Horford has agreed to a contract with the Philadelphia 76ers for four years, $109 million, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He declined his player option for $30.1 million last week, pointing to his departure from Boston.
“The Horford contract has $97M guaranteed and $12M in bonuses tied to championships,” Wojnarowski tweeted late Sunday night.
In the wee hours before his official signing announcement, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor suggested that Boston could pull off a complicated maneuver to keep Horford on the roster. He was responding to rumors asking about a potential “mystery team.”
There are some league executives that believe the “mystery team” for Al Horford is…the Boston Celtics.
But keeping Horford’s rights would require a number of complicated maneuvers, including a double sign-and-trade involving Kemba Walker and Terry Rozier. It wouldn’t be easy.
The first sign-and-trade happened, with Walker finalizing a 4-year, $141 million max contract with Boston and Rozier ending up in Charlotte with a 3-year, $58 million one. The second one didn’t pan out.
Horford, a 33-year-old Dominican Republic native, remained productive for the Celtics this past season as the team attempted to juggle an overcrowded rotation. He averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.3 blocks across 68 appearances.
Horford told Brian Robb of the Boston Sports Journal in March he has plenty of time left in the league:
“For me, as long as I’m healthy and feel good, I would like to play until I’m 40. Why not? As long as I’m healthy and feel good. I don’t want to be out there struggling or hurt or things like that. I really take the time to work on my body and I enjoy the game, so I wouldn’t see why I wouldn’t keep playing on it. I’m not going to put a limit on it. I’m just going to keep playing as long as I feel good.”
Horford will be a valuable boost to the Sixers’ frontcourt, alongside Joel Embiid. It has yet to be seen if they will keep Boban Marjanovic.
Celtics Roster & Starting Lineup Without Al Horford
*Notates expected starter
C: Robert Williams*, Guerschon Yabusele
PF: Semi Ojeleye*, Grant Williams
SF: Jayson Tatum*, Gordon Hayward,
SG: Jaylen Brown*, Romeo Langford
PG: Kemba Walker* Marcus Smart, Carsen Edwards, Tremont Waters
The Celtics will need to target a center and power forward in order to cover their potential offseason losses, so that will be a focus. As Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reported, the team is eyeing former Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez with the $4.6 million room exception.
As our own Jeff Smith wrote after Walker’s signing, the current frontcourt is likely not ready for primetime.
Semi Ojeleye may be ready to see an extended role, but it’s unlikely he’ll jump into the starting lineup, making it more likely that they make a push to sign another forward over the next week or so. The same can be said for Robert Williams, who’s just holding that spot at this moment until the team makes a free agency signing.
Lopez is a solid 7-foot presence. He scored 9.5 points per game last year and notched over a block per contest. He needs to grab more rebounds, though, snagging just 3.9 per.
Lopez would more fill the role of the departed Aron Baynes, who strictly acted as a glue guy for a perimeter-based offense. Options such as Thaddeus Young would be more in the Horford mold.