The list of teams expected to be in the mix for Al Horford‘s services is expanding. It was previously reported that the Magic, Pistons, Lakers and Rockets would be attempting to poach the big man from the Hawks. The Wizards, Celtics and Heat are also expected to pursue the 30-year-old, according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Wolfson adds that the Wolves will likely try to make a run at Horford, but are unlikely to get him to sign.
The Hawks are reportedly viewed as the frontrunner to lock up Horford since they can offer the most money and years. Atlanta intends to put a max deal on the table. He just finished up his ninth year in the league, meaning he’s eligible for the second-tier max salary this summer.
He could certainly take LeBron James‘ path and sign a shorter deal with an opt out after one season. Such a move would vault him into the third-tier max salary next offseason, which would allow him a starting salary of nearly 35% cap instead of the roughly 30% he is currently eligible for. Still, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors pointed out, given his age, he might opt to take long-term security.
Horford played in all 82 games last season for the first time in his career. He is a career 53.5% shooter from the field and a 34.0% shooter from behind the arc. He matched a career high in blocks with 1.5 per contest last season and he ranked 7th in the league among centers in ESPN’s Real Plus/Minus.