Celtics Rumors: Al Horford Discussing New 3-Year Contract If He Declines Option

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2019

Boston Celtics' Al Horford in action during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Al Horford could remain with the Boston Celtics even if he declines his $30.1 million player option for 2019-20.

According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, "the sides have been discussing a plan where he comes in at a lower number next season and gets two more years tacked on in a new deal."

Horford initially signed a four-year, $113 million contract in 2016 and made $28.9 million this past season, but it's unlikely he matches this type of deal if he hits the open market. The 33-year-old is coming off an up-and-down season in 2018-19, averaging 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, plus a career-low 29 minutes per game.

While this would likely give the player an incentive to see out the rest of his current contract, the Celtics could potentially offer more long-term stability with a brand new three-year deal.

Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reported Saturday the veteran hadn't yet made a decision ahead of Tuesday's deadline.

This negotiation would certainly make sense from the Celtics' perspective.

If Kyrie Irving leaves in free agency as expected, the team will likely need all the money it can get to improve the roster going into 2019-20. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and others could be enough to reach the playoffs, but another star could be needed to get over the hump and contend for a title.

Meanwhile, retaining Horford should be a priority considering his impact in the rotation. The five-time All-Star remains a versatile contributor who helps on both ends, finishing last year ranked second on the team behind only Irving with 7.5 win shares, per Basketball Reference.

His experience is also useful on what will be an otherwise young roster.

If the team can cut costs for next year while also keeping a valuable player on the roster for a few more seasons, it would be a complete win for Boston.