Al Horford Rumors: Clippers, Mavericks Linked After Celtics Contract Opt-out

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2019

Boston Celtics' Al Horford (42) looks to shoot against Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon (00) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Sunday, April 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Al Horford may be taking his talents to the Western Conference.

According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks are reportedly interested in signing the veteran big man:

Steve Bulpett @SteveBHoop

The two teams I've been hearing from last Monday for Al Horford are the Clippers and Dallas. Still think the Clips make the most sense, especially if they can land Kawhi Leonard. Dallas might be shaky on a fourth year for Al, who turned 33 earlier this month.

That follows ESPN's Jackie MacMullan and Brian Windhorst saying on the Hoop Collective podcast on Friday that they heard rumors of Dallas preparing to offer Horford a four-year, $112 million contract at the start of free agency. 

Marc Stein of the New York Times echoed that number, though he reported it would not be coming from the Mavs:

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

Numerous teams and agents believe Al Horford has a four-year offer awaiting him in free agency worth an estimated $112 million. Sources with knowledge of the Mavericks’ thinking continue to insist that such a deal will NOT be coming from Dallas. Free agency starts in eight days

Of course, the Clippers and Mavericks may not be the only teams gunning for Horford's services:

A. Sherrod Blakely @ASherrodblakely

A team to keep an eye on in the Al Horford sweepstakes is the Brooklyn Nets, league source says. The #Nets are a team on the rise, Al's close ties to head coach Kenny Atkinson and the team's cap space mentioned as the main reasons.

Tom Haberstroh @tomhaberstroh

Horford in Philly would be fascinating https://t.co/tUDneIhBmo

Both teams would be intriguing, though a frontcourt of Joel Embiid and Al Horford would be defensively imposing and would actually work on the offensive end, given Horford's ability to stretch the floor as a three-point shooter. It seems more likely that the Sixers will make re-signing Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris their top priority, however.

Other teams with interest could include the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets.

As for the Clippers and Mavericks, both teams are logical potential destinations for Horford. If the Clippers succeed in wooing Kawhi Leonard, the combination of Horford and Leonard would absolutely swallow opposing offenses whole and would give the team two players capable of slowing down Anthony Davis and LeBron James, the leading men for the rival Lakers. 

In Dallas, meanwhile, Horford would not only be a respected veteran presence to guide young stars in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, but he would also be the ideal pairing for Porzingis, with both players capable of playing both the 4 and 5, depending on the matchup. 

Truthfully, just about any team with cap space should be interested in Horford. The 33-year-old averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.3 blocks per game in the 2018-19 campaign, though his impact goes beyond the score sheet, given his huge defensive presence and offensive versatility. 

Horford makes teams better, full stop, and there's little doubt he'll get paid as such this summer.