NBA Free Agents 2019: Latest Rumors on Al Horford, D'Angelo Russell and More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2019

Boston Celtics' Al Horford (42) looks to shoot during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets in Boston, Sunday, March 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

With the 2019 NBA draft in the books, teams will largely focus on free agency to improve their rosters ahead of next season. There are several high-end players set to be available on the open market—which kicks off June 30.

Naturally, there is no shortage of swirling rumors. Let's take a look at some of the latest, starting with one of the Boston Celtics' most important role players—no, not Kyrie Irving.


Al Horford

Celtics center Al Horford may not be everyone's idea of a premier free agent. However, he is a five-time All-Star who averaged 13.6 points per game last season while shooting 53.6 percent from the floor. Teams need role players, and Horford is one of the best likely to be available this offseason.

"Al Horford is their most important player over the last couple of years," ESPN's Jalen Rose recently said on Get Up.

It appears, however, that Boston is resigned to letting the 33-year-old seek one more big contract elsewhere—and make no mistake, teams will be interested in adding Horford.

According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Globe, the two teams most interested in Horford are the Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks:

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.

As Bulpett points out, Los Angeles could quickly become the front-runner for Horford if the Clippers are willing to give him a four-year deal. Horford turned down a $30.1 million option to remain in Boston, so he seems to be seeking security over the long term as opposed to up-front money.

The Philadelphia 76ers is another team to keep an eye on, according to NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh:

975TheFanatic @975TheFanatic

“I spoke to a GM yesterday that said if Horford doesn’t go back to Boston, he told me not to count out Philadelphia for Al Horford. It’s a really interesting proposition because of the rest Embiid will need at times next year.” - @tomhaberstroh


D'Angelo Russell

Another player who is likely to be highly coveted is Brooklyn Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell. The 23-year-old is coming off a season in which he averaged 21.1 points and 7.0 assists per game.

Though they won't openly admit it, the Los Angeles Lakers could be looking to add Russell in free agency, according to Bleacher Report's Arye Abraham:

Arye Abraham @arye_abraham

A source within the Lakers organization not authorized to speak publicly has confirmed to me that the Lakers have strong interest in free agent guard D’Angelo Russell. I’m told the Lakers FO plan to have a face to face meeting with Russell at the beginning of free agency.

Russell, you may recall, was drafted by the Lakers back in 2015 but was traded two years later for the rights to Kyle Kuzma.

Bringing back Russell would make a lot of sense for the Lakers, who dealt Lonzo Ball as part of the package to acquire Anthony Davis. Though the tandem of Davis and LeBron James is exciting, Los Angeles doesn't have any high-end talent in the backcourt. Russell's potential addition would help remedy that issue.

However, the Lakers are likely to have some strong competition for Russell's services. The Minnesota Timberwolves are interested in Russell and appear confident they can get him, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe.

"Minnesota has communicated to the league, not the NBA league, just the league at large that they believe they have a pathway to get D'Angelo Russell," Lowe said on his Lowe Post podcast.

However, Low mentioned that the Timberwolves lack the cap space to pursue Russell—they are projected to be nearly $8 million over the cap by Spotrac. If Minnesota does believe it can land Russell, then perhaps the Timberwolves are also preparing to make some surprise moves.


Kevin Durant

Though he will likely spend most of, if not all, the 2019-20 season rehabbing from a torn Achilles, Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant remains one of the biggest prizes in free agency. Teams will be willing to gamble on his recovery and hopeful return to form by 2021.

There's at least a chance, however, that the Warriors convince Durant not to enter free agency, as ESPN's Brian Windhorst recently mentioned on Get Up.

"One of the things that is being discussed right now is that the Golden State Warriors would offer Kevin Durant a five-year contract, $57 million extra than he could get signing elsewhere, let him rehab and then work with him to be traded," Windhorst said.

This could be an enticing option for Durant, assuming he trusts Golden State to follow through with a trade. It would allow him to remain where he is through rehabilitation while also upping his financial security.

For the Warriors, it would allow the franchise to get something of value in return for Durant rather than simply losing him in free agency. It would also buy Golden State more time to try convincing Durant that he should continue his career as a Warrior.