When the news came that Al Horford was expected to opt out of his deal with the Boston Celtics and test the free agency market, it grabbed plenty of attention. Horford has been a key piece of the Celtics organization and with the potential loss of Kyrie Irving, it’s led to concern over the immediate outlook in Boston.
But with the chatter around Horford hitting the open market, it hasn’t taken long for the interest in him to ramp up. According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers are all expected to show interest in Horford.
While all three teams have eyes for the Celtics big man, O’Connor revealed that the Mavericks are considered favorites to land him. This comes largely due to the fact that the Lakers and Clippers are believed to have their sights set on Kawhi Leonard.
“The Mavericks are considered favorites to land Celtics free-agent big man Al Horford, according to league sources, and the two Los Angeles teams are said to also have interest, though they both have their sights set on bigger fish like Kawhi Leonard.”
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This can’t be considered all that surprising, but for what it’s worth, the fit of Horford alongside Anthony Davis would be a great one and an option the Lakers should seriously consider.
Al Horford’s Fit With Lakers in Free Agency
Although Horford isn’t likely to receive the same type of contract a player like Leonard, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler or Kemba Walker will, he’ll still come with a big price tag. As Heavy.com’s Anthony Koon broke down in an interesting story about the potential Horford-Davis pairing, it could create a strong duo for the Lakers to consider.
From a basketball standpoint, Horford would be an incredible fit playing alongside Davis in the frontcourt. A highly cerebral big man known for his excellent passing out of the post, Horford creates tons of easy looks for his teammates while playing elite defense.
Horford isn’t necessarily a rim protector but has the capacity to lock down any big man in the league. This enables Davis to wreak havoc on opposing defenses as he can use his incredible length and athleticism to comfortably help protect the rim while knowing Horford has the opposing big locked down.
As O’Connor stated above, the Lakers appear to be fully locked on Leonard, which has been fairly consistent over the past few weeks. With that said, the belief seems to be that the Clippers have a better chance at signing the Toronto Raptors star than the Lakers, although there’s nothing concrete reported on that front.
Mavericks as Top Free Agency Suitors for Al Horford
The Mavericks could be an interesting team to watch this offseason, as they’ll have a chance to make a run at a top player or two, depending on how things play out. Realistically, the most likely outcome is that they attempt to sign a top-tier player who would fit with the current core and someone who’ll play well alongside Luka Doncic.
As RealGM’s Keith Smith cited back in April, the Mavericks were projected to have just north of $29.33 million in salary cap space. Assuming the numbers wind up being close to this, it would line up with a recent report from Marc Stein of the New York Times which cites that there’s a four-year deal worth more than $100 million waiting for Horford.
The Mavericks will certainly be the team to watch once free agency begins, although a number of other teams could jump into the mix for Horford this offseason. His situation will be one to monitor in the near future.