Go big or go home.
The Sacramento Kings are ready to be players in the NBA free-agent market, and they have their eye on big man Al Horford.
It might be a long shot, but there are plenty of reasons why general manager Vlade Divac would chase the 33-year-old center with a four-year, $100-plus million contract offer.
With a decision expected early in the free agency window, which opens Sunday at 3 p.m. PT, here's a look at why the Kings might feel Horford is the right player on whom to spend big money:
Despite his age, Horford still is a very good NBA player. His role changed over the last few seasons in Boston as the Celtics went young, but he brings a specific skill set that the Kings need.
In his 12th NBA season, Horford averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.3 blocks in 29 minutes per game. He posted an offensive rating of 122 and a defensive rating of 107, and his player efficiency rating was 20.2.
He’s a low-usage player who sets big screens and frees his teammates for open looks. He’s not the rebounder he once was, but Horford remains an excellent defender, is one of the better passing bigs in the league and shot 36.0 percent from behind the arc last season.
His player arc clearly doesn’t match the young core in Sacramento, but he can act as a mentor to Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles, and when the time is right, he can move to a secondary role on the team’s frontline.
The star effect
In the summer of 2017, the Kings brought in George Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter to supply a veteran presence. It probably was the most recognizable free-agent haul in franchise history.
Z-Bo was nearly 36 at the time of the signing. Carter already had turned 40.
If the Kings can land a five-time All-Star who still has tread on the tires, it would be a huge move for the franchise. It might not happen, but he’s the type of player with whom other NBA players want to play. He could open a door that the Kings have been banging on for a while.
Vlade Part II?
When Vlade Divac signed with the Kings during the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, it was a huge deal for Sacramento. The 7-footer signed a six-year, $60 million contract with the team, becoming its first real big free-agent signing.
He instantly took hold of the franchise and became the glue that held everything together through the team’s golden age. Divac was a few days shy of his 31st birthday when he signed his contract, and he was able to stay healthy throughout the six years, missing six total games during the stretch.
It’s likely that Divac sees a lot of himself when he looks at Horford. Known as a quality locker-room presence and a player who has accomplished plenty during his time in the league, Horford would have an opportunity to pull a young group together in Sacramento and forge ahead as the team’s leader.
Will he sign?
There’s a good chance Horford chooses a contender over the Kings. While Sacramento is up and coming, the Western Conference is extremely tough.
Horford also makes his offseason home in Atlanta, which is a long way from Sacramento. If the Kings come in as the highest bidder, and it’s substantially more than he's receiving elsewhere, there's always the potential for a deal.
If he has two similar offers and one is closer to home and on a contender, the Kings likely will miss out on one of their primary targets.