Al Horford will reportedly have a long list of suitors when NBA free agency opens on July 1, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. The Celtics are one of eight teams expected to pursue Horford, a list that also includes the Hawks, Lakers, Rockets, Magic, Pistons, Wizards, and Nets.
Stein adds that, in addition to wanting to re-sign Horford, the Hawks are “trying to wedge their way into the Kevin Durant sweepstakes.”
Zach Lowe reported in February that Durant had interest in playing with Horford next season. They entered the league together in 2007 and have remained friends. If that’s true, it’s good news for the Celtics. They are the only team on the list of eight teams that can sign both Durant and Horford to max contracts without moving a single piece to make it work.
A few other teams, like the Hawks and Magic, would have to sacrifice talent to free up the necessary cap space. No reports have indicated Durant has interest in Atlanta anyway, only that they want a shot at him. Who doesn't?
If Stein’s report is accurate, the Celtics will probably look to pair Durant and Horford together as part of their pitch to the superstar.
Horford would solve Boston’s rim protection issues, and provide some spacing. And Durant would…well, you know the deal: he’s a Hall of Famer in the prime of his career.
Kevin O’Connor can be followed on Twitter: @KevinOConnorNBA