The Al Horford era in Boston reportedly is over.
After three seasons with the Celtics, the All-Star big man reportedly has decided to opt out of his contract and will look to sign a longer-term deal elsewhere, The Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett reported Tuesday, citing league sources.
Horford arrived in Boston ahead of the 2016-17 season, viewing the C's as a team that was about to take the leap into NBA Finals contention. Three years later, Kyrie Irving's expected departure has made Danny Ainge's giant asset Jenga board crumble, and now Horford appears to be on the market as he looks for a chance to win a title during the latter stages of his career.
This news, naturally, sent Twitter into a tizzy, and it had some pinpointing the Kings as a likely destination for Big Al.
The four-year, $100 million makes a lot of sense for Al Horford if it's coming from the Sacramento Kings, though. They'll be able to afford both him and a Harrison Barnes extension.— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) June 19, 2019
Al Horford would look good in purple. #Kings I’d be throwing him a sizable offer.— Bobby Gerould (@BobbyGerould) June 18, 2019
I would give Al Horford 4 years, $100 million if I was the Kings.— SactownBabyGiraffe (@TimMaxwell22) June 18, 2019
He’s a defensive monster, can stretch the floor, and would be a great mentor for Bagley and Giles.
Yes, you’re overpaying for his last season or two, but the cap will be in the $135 million range at that point.
Al Horford on the Kings would be fun. Center is a need, likely makes them a playoff team and gives Bagley a mentor.— Greg Swartz (@GregSwartzBR) June 19, 2019
The Kings, fresh off a 39-43 season where they showed they were one of the up-and-coming young teams in the league, are projected to have the cap space to sign Horford to the long-term deal he reportedly is seeking.
New 2019 cap space projections after latest option news:— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 19, 2019
1. NYK - $70.5M
2. SAC - $62.6M
3. LAC - $52.9M
4. BKN - $47.4M
5. IND - $44.0M
6. UTA - $33.4M
7. DAL - $29.8M
8. BOS - $27.8M
9. LAL - $27.7M
10. ATL - $24.9M
11. CHI - $20.8M
12. NOP - $19.9M
13. DEN - $16.9M
Horford, obviously, would be a great veteran piece on what is a young, inexperienced team. The Florida product has been the model of maturity and consistency during his NBA career and would be a respected veteran voice for a young Kings team. With Sacramento looking to make a leap into the playoffs next season, Horford could serve as a steadying force -- the same way he was in Boston -- and help the Kings navigate the rigors of the NBA season.
Putting Horford next to Marvin Bagley III also would give the Kings a loaded frontcourt that has the ability to dominate the glass. Horford's intelligence and veteran savvy on the defensive end of the floor is something that could help the Kings go up a level as they look to move above the .500-mark next season.
Now, are the Kings in a position to take a leap and potentially win a title during the next few seasons? That part's a little iffy.
NBA free agency begins at 3:00 p.m. PT on June 30.