After declining his $30.1 million player option, Al Horford appears ready to leave the Boston Celtics this summer. Where will he land?
The Boston Celtics’ offseason went from bad to worse Tuesday.
In the morning, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Al Horford will decline his $30.1 million player option to become an unrestricted free agent. He initially said there was “motivation for both Horford and the Celtics to work toward an agreement on a new long-term contract,” which suggested Horford may take a slight annual paycut in exchange for a new multiyear deal.
Later in the day, however, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reported Horford was “no longer discussing a new three-year deal to stay with the Celtics” and was instead “expected to sign a four-year free-agent contract elsewhere.” Wojnarowski added there’s “too great of a gulf between what [Boston] is willing to offer and what Horford wants on a long-term deal.”
“Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Horford’s agent, Jason Glushon, aren’t expected to restart talks again,” Wojnarowski wrote. “Horford is entering free agency with the full expectation that his three-year Celtics career has ended, sources said.”
The Celtics reportedly believe “Horford may already have a good idea of where he’s headed after such a dramatic step back from negotiations,” according to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. Marc Stein of the New York Times reported rival front offices believe Horford “already knows there’s a four-year contract worth in excess of $100 million waiting out there for him June 30.”
Kyrie Irving already has one foot out the door, and it appears as though Horford may not be far behind. While there hasn’t been much reporting yet on where the latter will land, the following five teams make sense as landing spots based on projected salary-cap space and positional need.