Silent for most of the opening of free agency, the Wizards took a trip to Atlanta to make a recruiting pitch to free agent forward/center Al Horford, league sources told CSNmidatlantic.com on Friday night.
Horford, 30, will command a max offer when he decides. He averaged 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.5 blocks last season for the Atlanta Hawks, where he has played since 2007 when he was drafted No. 3 overall.
Horford is a strong Plan B for Washington, which couldn't get a meeting with Kevin Durant, the hottest free agent in the league, but it would have decisions to make if Horford were to accept.
First, Markieff Morris is the starting power forward and Marcin Gortat starts at center. Horford can play both positions and would make significantly more than both. One of them, likely Morris ($7.4 million per year) in this scenario, would go to the bench and be the sixth man. Gortat ($12 million) is effective running pick-and-rolls with John Wall.
Having the 6-10 Horford next to Gortat keeps the Wizards really big but also keeps them flexible. If a team tries to match up with a traditonal power forward on Horford, he can use his quickness and stretch to the three-point line where he shot 34% this season on a career-high 256 attempts. In eight previous seasons, Horford had never taken more than 36 threes and that was in 2014-15. If a team goes with a small player, Horford has the post-up game to take advantage and is an excellent rebounder and passer.
Morris isn't noted as a three-point shooter but has good mechanics and can double as a stretch option for the Wizards, who then could avoid shelling out $17 million for Ryan Anderson in free agency. That would allow them to save that money and use it elsewhere to retool the roster. These, of course, are all ifs. An answer from Horford won't come until Saturday at the earliest.
Anderson, CSN was told Friday by league sources, met with the Toronto Raptors.