Celtics

NBA rumors: Lakers, Clippers, Mavericks interested in Al Horford in free agency

NBA rumors: Lakers, Clippers, Mavericks interested in Al Horford in free agency

Boston Celtics center Al Horford reportedly has declined his player option to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and he's expected to draw interest from several NBA teams.

The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported an update Wednesday on Horford's potential suitors, and three teams from the Western Conference are expected to be in the mix for the 32-year-old veteran.

The Mavericks are considered favorites to land Celtics free-agent big man Al Horford, according to league sources, and the two Los Angeles teams are said to also have interest, though they both have their sights set on bigger fish like Kawhi Leonard.

UPDATE (Wednesday, June 19 at 3:25 p.m.): The Athletic's Shams Charania has listed two other potential suitors for Horford: the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets.

--End of Update--

The Mavericks are an interesting spot for Horford. Dallas' roster is highlighted by likely 2018-19 Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic, as well as talented center Kristaps Porzingis, who did not play at all last season after tearing his ACL as a member of the New York Knicks in 2018. Horford's defense, rebounding, leadership and 3-point shooting would make him an excellent fit on the Mavericks. However, the addition of Horford would not make the Mavs a real contender for an NBA championship next season, so Dallas isn't the best spot if winning, not money, is the priority for him in free agency.

The Lakers recently agreed to acquire superstar center Anthony Davis in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans, but they still have around $25 million in salary cap space to pursue a top-tier free agent such as Horford. The Clippers have been mentioned throughout the season as the likely landing spot for Toronto Raptors superstar forward Kawhi Leonard in free agency. A Leonard/Horford duo instantly would make the Clippers one of the best defensive teams in the league next season.

Horford averaged 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds, while shooting 36 percent from 3-point range for Boston last year. He spent the last three seasons with the Celtics and made one All-Star appearance (2017-18).

Where do C's turn with Irving and Horford likely leaving?>>>

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Celtics Talk Podcast: Who deserves the All-Star nod, Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum?

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Celtics Talk Podcast: Who deserves the All-Star nod, Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum?

Kemba Walker and the Boston Celtics got some great news on Thursday as it was announced the star C's guard would be a starter in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.

Now, it's just a matter of which C's -- if any -- will join him.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the two candidates for when the All-Star reserves are announced next Thursday. But which player is more deserving of the honor?

On the latest episode of the "Celtics Talk Podcast," Kyle Draper, A. Sherrod Blakely and Chris Forsberg debated who should get the All-Star nod between Brown and Tatum.

Click here to listen and subscribe to the Celtics Talk Podcast

Blakely made it clear he'd be stunned if Tatum doesn't get named to the squad.

We know Tatum is going to get in. That would be the shock of all shocks if he does not get voted in by the coaches. The thing I like about what is happening now is Tatum is making it a little bit easier because Jaylen, you know, he's had some bumps and bruises, missed some games, and Tatum has actually played really well in Brown's absence.

Forsberg agrees with Tatum getting a slight edge over Brown.

I've heard a lot of smart basketball people say that they believe Jaylen should be the All-Star for Boston and I'll admit I'm a little surprised. Because for me it's like a slam dunk for Tatum, and that's no disrespect to Jaylen Brown. I just think Tatum's been that good this season.

You can find out what Draper thinks of Blakely and Forsberg's choices in the podcast above (discussion begins at 3:00 mark).

For a 1-on-1 with Kemba Walker, more on the upcoming All-Star Game, and the Celtics' matchup against rookie phenom Zion Williamson on Sunday, check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, which drops weekly as part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

Stevens joins elite company with 300th win

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pelicans, which begins Sunday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 6 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson presents big test for undersized Celtics

Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson presents big test for undersized Celtics

The Boston Celtics are in the midst of a three-game win streak, but their lack of size could land them in some big trouble Sunday vs. the New Orleans Pelicans.

That's because they'll be up against the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Zion Williamson.

After missing most of the season with a knee injury, Williamson has made his presence felt in the first two games of his NBA career. In his debut against the Spurs on Wednesday night, the 19-year-old tallied 22 points and seven rebounds while drilling four 3-pointers.

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In his second game Friday night vs. the Denver Nuggets, Williamson dropped 15 points in 21 minutes (7-for-9 shooting) while bringing down six boards and blocking a shot into another stratosphere.

Watch below:

After the Celtics' win over the Magic on Friday, Kemba Walker said he ran home to watch highlights of Williamson vs. Denver.

The 6-foot-10, 285-pounder presents an obvious challenge for the undersized Celtics, who likely will be without big men Enes Kanter and Robert Williams in New Orleans.

That means it'll probably mostly be up to Daniel Theis and Marcus Smart to keep Williamson in check. Who knows, maybe even Tacko Fall will get some minutes. The 7-foot-5 UCF product does have some experience playing against the former Duke star, as the two met up in last year's NCAA Tournament.

The Pelicans are a lowly 17-29 on the season and 0-2 since Williamson entered the lineup. The C's are on the other end of the spectrum at 30-14

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pelicans, which begins Sunday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 6 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.