Al Horford Won’t Exercise 2019/20 Player Option

Celtics center Al Horford won’t pick up the 2019/20 player option on his contract, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that Horford is on track to reach unrestricted free agency.

If Horford had exercised his option for next season, it would have locked in his $30,123,015 salary. Instead, he’ll negotiate a new deal with Boston or a new team. Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter) that Horford and the Celtics have mutual interest in working out a new agreement in free agency.

While there has been an expectation all along that Horford and the Celtics will continue their relationship, either via his player option or a longer-term deal, the new level of uncertainty about the future in Boston has rival teams feeling more optimistic about making a run at the veteran big man, tweets ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

The Celtics’ original Plan A for this offseason was to lock up Kyrie Irving on a new contract and swing a deal for Anthony Davis. However, with Davis headed to Los Angeles and Irving’s future in Boston looking more tenuous than ever – Kyrie seems to have “essentially ghosted” the team, per Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe – the franchise’s direction is no longer clear.

Retaining Horford will be crucial for the Celtics after another season in which he served as the roster’s frontcourt anchor. He was limited to 68 games due to injury and his numbers (13.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 4.2 APG, and a .535 FG%) don’t necessarily jump off the page, but the 33-year-old was a linchpin on defense and an important screen-setter and pick-and-pop weapon on offense.

If the Celtics and Horford can work out a longer-term agreement that starts closer to $20MM, it should allow the team to re-sign Terry Rozier and have access to the full mid-level exception this offseason, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. As Marks points out (via Twitter), the club could also clear up to about $27MM in cap room, but that would mean renouncing Horford and Rozier along with Irving and Marcus Morris, which probably isn’t realistic.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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37 thoughts on “Al Horford Won’t Exercise 2019/20 Player Option

      • UTEP Two Step

        Bobby Marks says they would have $27M available if the renounce Morris, Rozier and the rest of their FAs.

          • UTEP Two Step

            If you can get Russell for $18-20M, you should renounce Rozier and Horford and go young. Centers are the most readily available position in FA. Signing a 33 year old to a 3 year extension is bad business.

  1. Jason Lancaster

    Nuggets need to drop Milsap’s option and jump at this. They can offer him three years and sixty million, which is a lot, but not at all unreasonable for one of the best power forwards in the league.

  2. Z-A

    I mean.. I think this is a really bad move on his part. He would still garner a sizable contract next season as a UFA. Not 30M but a multi-year deal. Unless they were offering a 3/75. I think he would garner a 2 or 3 yr deal after this season from someone in the 18-22M range.

    • bowserhound

      I agree that he made a bad move to opt out. He’s 33 years old and doesn’t have the best numbers.

      • victorg

        I think he would rather have a 3/60 then a 1/30… if he opts in at the 30 mil and lets say gets hurt or numbers regress anymore he could be down to a min pay day.

    • DynamiteAdams

      I guess he figures to go on the safe side in case he gets injured. But I definitely agree that he’s missing out on money as well as team choice flexibility by opting out.

    • LordBanana

      Turning down 1 year at 30 for 3 years at 18-22 isn’t a bad move and gets him more security

  3. I believe that Al Horford was the biggest reason the Celtics went from also-rans to top contender in the East the last few years. He brought winning attitude and big-time defense to the team. He’s huge for them and a major loss if he skips town.

  4. He wouldn’t have opted out if he didn’t already know what his next contract is going to be (roughly). Either the Celtics or another team have already verbally committed to a deal that he prefers to the 1/30 get would get by opting in.

  5. victorg

    I wonder if he would go to LAL ? I know davis doesn’t really want to be center.

    • Bryzzo2016

      No room for him there. The front court is locked in. 5 – Davis, 4 – Kouzma, 3 – Bron.

      • victorg

        good call I just wonder if he would be a sixth man andre iggy type for a ring.
        to me the ideal trade would be CP3 and capela for horford and smart.

  6. He Will do a 3×60 that is good for him and for Boston, because celtics will use Bird rights

  7. Jeff Zanghi

    I’m assuming he’s essentially already agreed to a deal to stay in Boston otherwise I’m not sure he’d have opted out BUT… if he’s actually considering going elsewhere I’m not really sure the Celtics should go all out to bring him back. Yeah he’s a good if not great player. especially on this team. But he’s aging, has a bad knee, and makes a lot of $. Their best option may still be keeping him because of the salary cap implications but if they can actually open up enough $ for a different FA – they might want to do that instead. Having said that I do agree with the article that renouncing Rozier is probably not a good move either.

  8. A mobile center who can pass, spread the floor and play good defense? Would integrate well into the Warriors

  9. Archie M.

    Horford would be a perfect fit for the Rockets IF HOUSTON SERIOUSLY wants to chase the championship. That would also make Capela dispensable and Houston can use that slot to bring in another player who can be an instant scorer off the bench or a defensive stopper.

    • victorg

      I agree and they should see if morey can get ainge to go for a CP3/CAPELA FOR horford and smart and maybe the latest of ther first round picks.

  10. Just another BS way to get around the rules of a salary cap. Why bother having rules when you don’t enforce them.

  11. I’m surprised. Unless he’s doing to this to either help the Celtics tax situation or he really wants to go to another team. What team with cap space that misses on the max guys wouldn’t take Horford at 60 mm/ 3 years ? I wouldn’t even mind the Knicks at that price point; trade asset if nothing else.

  12. bradthebluefish

    Let him go. Celtics played just as great when Horford was on the bench.

  13. hoosierhysteria

    They need horford. Rozier : GTFO! Punk..selfish…see comment from u of l fan talking about him as bad teammate….go to the Fakers.

  14. Clearly Horford isn’t in need of the money, so to me it seems that it might be because has been repeatedly mentioned that once Big Al is opted in he can be traded… IMO having the power of were you play is much more important than $, & for this reason he has opted out, that way Boston can’t trade him to any team, he stays or goes wherever he wants!
    Real smart move, as always, by Big Al!

  15. we_got_game

    Maybe he is taking a little less to secure rosier a roster spot.. Plus opens there full mle. I’m a pistons fan but I thought Boston was robed by kyrie negative presence just seem like they wasent having fun.. I think horford knows this and is doing his team and there fan base a favor take less and get more… I could see a guy like JJ reddick going to boston and they will be way better next year.. This is a fun year for all fans because it seems like everything is even Kiel right now.

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