The Celtics will meet with Al Horford later tonight in Atlanta and the team intends to put a max offer on the table, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder will be among the attendees present at the meeting, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders and Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe (Twitter links).
Danny Ainge seems confident about his chances of signing Horford, as Evan Turner told Himmelsbach (full-length piece). Ainge told Turner that he was interested in having Turner re-sign with the team, but Boston was going to go after Horford and Kevin Durant before making an offer to the versatile wing. Turner worked out with Kyle Korver on Thursday and Korver told him that Horford would be re-signing with Atlanta. However, earlier today, Turner received a text message from Korver, asking him to call, and Turner had a sense that something had changed, Himmelsback writes. The Hawks signed Dwight Howard to a three-year, $70MM deal today, so perhaps the franchise was under the same impression.
Horford reportedly met with the Rockets earlier today and it’s unclear if any other teams have sat down with the former Florida Gator. Horford reportedly would like to stay in Atlanta and the team would like to bring the big man back. However, the team’s reluctance to offer a fifth year may drive Horford to sign elsewhere, as Zach Lowe of ESPN.com previously reported.
The Celtics have a meeting lined up with Durant on Saturday and if they can sign Horford, that would make Boston a more desirable destination for the 2013/14 MVP either this summer or next, Bulpett adds. Boston has relatively easy path to opening up enough cap space to sign both Horford and Durant to max contracts. The team would simply need to decline Jonas Jerebko‘s and Amir Johnson‘s respective team options and renounce the rights to both Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller.
Horford would be a perfect fit in Boston, as one anonymous coach told Bulpett. “Look at what they were trying to do with [Jared] Sullinger, and now put a guy in that spot who can make the shots. That would change their offense big-time,” the coach told Bulpett.
In addition to the Celtics, Hawks, and Rockets, Horford is receiving interest from the Thunder, Lakers, Magic, Pistons, Wizards, and Nets. The Heat were reportedly interested, but they are likely out of the running after agreeing to re-sign Hassan Whiteside.