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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Enes Kanter Show: Celtics center explains importance of mental strength in NBA bubble

Enes Kanter Show: Celtics center explains importance of mental strength in NBA bubble

The NBA's bubble at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida will provide the players with plenty of fun activities -- bowling, golf, movies, video games and ping pong, among others -- in their spare time. This doesn't mean the environment will be without challenges, though.

The Boston Celtics traveled down to Orlando on Wednesday night, and they will be staying at the Gran Destino Tower during the league's restart.

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Not every player will be in perfect basketball shape once practices ramp up soon. That's understandable, and it's a challenge the players eventually will overcome. The mental challenges will be the most important -- and maybe the toughest -- to battle through given the uniqueness of the situation. 

In the latest episode of the The Enes Kanter Show podcast, Celtics center Enes Kanter explained the importance of mental strength in the league's bubble.

"All we have to do is get in game shape. We all know how to play basketball. It's like riding a bike -- you can't forget how to play basketball," Kanter said. "You can be a little rusty and get back into shape. But I think the important thing is the mental part because you're away from your family and loved ones for three months and now all you have is your basketball family and coaches. That's why the 3-month period before Orlando was so important to keep building that chemistry. I think now we're all bonding and the chemistry is really good. We all care about each other. We're just going to go out there and play golf, go bowling and fish all day, and other than that just play basketball. I feel, besides from the games, you can actually just relax. Read a book, just invest in yourself."

Enes Kanter Show: C's center gives first impressions of NBA bubble | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

The bubble was made to ensure the players can continue playing in an environment that's as safe and as healthy as possible amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Players won't have the same freedom they normally do on the road, and the teams that are mentally tough and well prepared likely will enjoy the most success in Orlando.

Kanter is in no mood to complain. He's going to make the most out of the opportunity to compete for a championship, and you can bet his Celtics teammates will have a similar attitude. 

"Love it or hate, you're going to be here for three months," Kanter said. "So you might as well look at the positive side of it.

Check out The Enes Kanter Show on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or watch on YouTube below:

Celtics at Home: Which superhero is Marcus Smart most like?

Celtics at Home: Which superhero is Marcus Smart most like?

Boston Celtics star Marcus Smart often plays like a superhero on the basketball court.

The versatile guard plays multiple positions on offense and guards all five positions on defense. He'll hit 3-pointers, set up the offense, dive on the floor for loose balls, guard the opposing teams' best player, etc. There aren't many things Smart can't provide the Celtics. This all-around skill set is quite valuable to the C's, especially on defense. Smart was named to the league's All-Defensive first team last season, and he deserves a spot in that group again in 2019-20. 

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In the latest episode of Celtics at Home, one of the topics in the Celtics Census segment was, "which superhero is Marcus Smart most like?"

We asked 300 Celtics fans for the top six answers, and several of them are superheroes you would definitely associate with a player who excels on the defensive end of the court.

NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin and former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins teamed up against C's head coach Brad Stevens and Smart to see who could come up with the right answers. 

Watch the video below to find out which team won. Be sure to check out the NBC Sports Boston YouTube page for more Celtics at Home videos and other content.