Al Horford Rumors: Lakers, Clippers, Mavericks Expected to Pursue Star in FA

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2019

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 06: Al Horford #42 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the second half of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2019 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on May 06, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bucks defeat the Celtics 113-101. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers are reportedly among the teams expected to pursue veteran big man Al Horford in free agency.

According to Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer, the Mavs are considered the favorites to sign Horford, while the L.A. teams are "said to also have interest, though they both have their sights set on bigger fish like Kawhi Leonard."

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that Horford will decline the $30.1 million option in his contract for 2019-20 and is set to leave the Boston Celtics in favor of another team since Horford and Boston are far apart on a deal.

Earlier Wednesday, A. Sherrod Blakely named the Brooklyn Nets as a "team to keep an eye on" with regard to Horford as well.

All of the aforementioned teams stand out as solid fits for Horford, but Dallas may be best of all. The Mavericks are a young and ascending team led by a pair of rising stars in guard Luka Doncic and power forward Kristaps Porzingis, who was acquired from the New York Knicks during the 2018-19 season.

Porzingis missed last season with a torn ACL, which means the Mavs will likely be cautious with him leading up to next season. Horford would afford head coach Rick Carlisle that luxury and also give Porzingis an experienced mentor to learn from, which he lacked in New York.

Dallas is a team that could vie for a championship in the coming years, while the Lakers and Clippers are both positioned to contend as soon as next season.

The Lakers already have LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma in place, and signing Horford is a move that likely won't require them to offer a max contract, meaning there would still be room to fill out the rest of the roster.

The Clippers' status as a championship contender is reliant on whether they can lure Leonard away from the Toronto Raptors. If they can do that and add Horford to an existing core of Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell and Danilo Gallinari, the Clips may suddenly be the team to beat in the West with the Golden State Warriors facing so much uncertainty.

Horford, 33, is a 12-year veteran with 120 games of playoff experience who would bring a much-needed presence to contending teams and teams on the cusp of contending as well.

Last season, Horford averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.3 blocks per game while shooting 53.5 percent from the field and 36.0 percent from beyond the arc. With his ability to contribute across the board, essentially any team in the NBA could benefit in some way from signing him.