Al Horford’s decision to opt out of his deal and (most likely) leave the Celtics came down to dollars and cents.
And a willing free agent market for the 33-year-old big, according to Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher.
“Speculation is that Horford has been made aware that a team is willing to give him a much more lucrative deal than the Celtics are, prompting his change of heart,” Bucher wrote on Monday. “The Pelicans, Clippers and Dallas Mavericks have all been mentioned as teams willing to make that promise, league sources say.”
Bucher is not the first to link Horford with the Mavericks.
In fact, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst floated the Mavs, who boast a youthful one-two punch of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, as the most team interested in adding Horford to the mix. Jackie MacMullan followed up Windhorst’s report by noting that it was most likely a four-year, $112 million deal awaiting Horford in free agency. Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News, however, shot down that report, saying that a Mavs source told him “not really” when asked about their interest.
Going to the Mavs or Pelicans would have to feel like a massive kick upside the head for the Celtics, all things considered, as both teams seemed farther away from a title than the 2019-20 Celtics, even if they lose Kyrie Irving in free agency.
The Clippers, however, could be a different story, as Doc Rivers’ squad has positioned themselves to land a superstar this summer — be it Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, or someone else — and complementing that with the leadership and versatility of Horford could be the boost that the Clips need to take themselves to the next level as legitimate contenders in the West.