Al Horford

Atlantic Notes: Horford, Lowry, Raptors, Portis, Knicks

Sixers power forward Al Horford shot down an ESPN report that his new team was guilty of tampering prior to free agency. He addressed the issue on the Dan Patrick Show (hat tip to NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg). Horford declined his team option with the Celtics and signed a four-year, $109MM contract with Philadelphia. “It’s ridiculous. … (Celtics GM) Danny [Ainge] was really good to me. I know he’s definitely frustrated that things didn’t work out with us,” Horford said.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Heading into unrestricted free agency next summer, Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry has hired Priority Sports — headed by longtime agent Mark Bartelstein — to represent him, according to a Priority Sports tweet. Lowry signed a three-year deal worth up to $100MM in 2017. His previous reps were Gerard Darnes Soms, Andrew Miller and Juan Aisa, according to Spotrac.
  • The Raptors used their $3.623MM bi-annual exception to sign forward Stanley Johnson, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic. The $9.26MM mid-level was split up among Patrick McCaw, Matt Thomas, second-round pick Dewan Hernandez and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who received $2.5MM rather than the veteran’s minimum. McCaw signed a two-year, $8MM deal while Thomas and Hernandez received partially-guaranteed three-year contracts.
  • Power forward Bobby Portis believes the players the Knicks brought in are a hungry group ready to overachieve, as he told Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype. Portis joined the team on a two-year, $31MM deal, though only the first year is guaranteed. “I love being underrated, man. I’m an underdog,” he said. “I say that every day. We’re the team that’s being counted out right now. People are looking past us. They’re talking about stars going to new teams and this and that, and that’s okay. Everybody on this team has a huge chip on their shoulder.”
  • After striking out on the big free agents this summer, the Knicks will have to exercise patience and come up with a better plan to lure top talent, Steve Popper of Newsday opines.

Celtics Notes: Horford, Green, Roster, Walker

The Celtics feel there was tampering involved in the departure of Al Horford to rival Philadelphia, according to Brian Windhorst. The ESPN analyst said as much on a Hoop Collective Podcast (hat tip to NBC Sports Boston’s Justin Leger).

“What happened with Horford, again from what I’m told, really upset the Celtics,” Windhorst said. “They were thinking they were going to be able to negotiate with him, talk to him about a new contract, and all of a sudden it was like he already knew what his market was and he was out of there.”

The Sixers inked Horford to a four-year deal that can be worth up to $109MM.

We have more on the Celtics:

  • Swingman Javonte Green is expected to sign a two-year deal with the Celtics, with a partial guarantee in the first year and a non-guaranteed second year, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe tweets. The news that Green was signing with Boston surfaced on Thursday. Green, who has played overseas since going undrafted in 2015, averaged 10.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, and 1.8 SPG in 22.6 MPG over five Summer League games at Las Vegas this month.
  • The Celtics will have an open competition for the final roster spot, Himmelsbach reveals in the same tweet. Players with partial guarantees and their two-way contract players will try to earn that spot. Guards Max Strus and reportedly Tremont Waters are their two-way players.
  • Kemba Walker received the max allowed for a free agent from an opposing team but the opportunity to join a contender seeking a point guard tipped the scales to Boston, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer relays. “It really came down to my happiness and how I want to compete night-in and night-out,” Walker said. “It’s a winning organization, and I want to win. That’s what it’s all about. Throughout my basketball career as a pro, I haven’t won consistently, and I want to get a taste of that.”

Sixers Notes: Simmons, Butler, Harris, Horford

Don’t expect to see Ben Simmons at the FIBA World Cup, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul, tells Woj that Simmons is “doubtful” to suit up for Australia, preferring to spend the summer concentrating on the upcoming NBA season.

Simmons, who was born in Melbourne, also pulled out of the 2016 Olympics so he could prepare for his rookie year. He began representing his home nation in international tournaments in 2012 when he was 15, but was cut from Australia’s World Cup team two years later. One of the NBA’s top young stars, Simmons is currently mulling over a five-year, $170MM extension offer from the Sixers.

There’s more today out of Philadelphia:

  • Even though Jimmy Butler‘s stay with the Sixers was short, GM Elton Brand doesn’t regret the trade that brought him from Minnesota, relays Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Philly sent Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless and a second-round pick in 2022 to get Butler for what turned out to be 55 games. “When we went into it last year, it was hopefully Jimmy found a great fit and hopefully we did also,” Brand said. “I’d make that trade again. He gave us a great playoff run last year.”
  • After re-signing for $180MM over the next five years, Tobias Harris has become much more important to the Sixers’ future, Bontemps observes in the same story. Harris often found himself as the fourth or fifth option on offense after being acquired from the Clippers in a mid-season trade, but with Butler and J.J. Redick both gone, the team will rely on Harris to provide more scoring. “I can come into next year with that kind of energy, that kind of fire to improve my game and show different parts of my game, too,” Harris said. “Obviously I’ll have the ball in my hands in more different situations and I’m ready for that. I’ve been working out all summer to get ready for that.”
  • Former Celtic Al Horford didn’t expect the Sixers to be among his suitors in free agency, writes Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston. He said negotiations with Philadelphia “escalated very, very quickly” once teams were officially allowed to talk to players. “When Elton called and spoke with my agent, he laid down this offer,” Horford recalled. “I was very surprised there was that strong interest for me being here. It made the decision very easy. I’m just excited to be a part of this.”

Contract Details: Porzingis, Kleber, Horford, Smailagic, More

In addition to having no injury protection, Kristaps Porzingis‘ five-year max contract with the Mavericks also features a fifth-year player option, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Elsewhere on the Mavericks’ front, Maxi Kleber‘s new four-year deal with the team has a total base value of $34MM, but only $25MM of that money is guaranteed, according to Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights, who tweets that the fourth year ($9MM) is fully non-guaranteed. The pact also features $475K annually in bonuses, Siegel notes.

Finally, Siegel reports (via Twitter) that Delon Wright‘s three-year contract with the Mavericks has a descending structure, starting at $9.47MM in year one before going down to $8.53MM by year three. The agreement includes a total of $3.15MM in unlikely bonuses in addition to its $27MM base value, per Siegel.

Here are a few more details on recently-signed NBA contracts:

  • Siegel and ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter links) provide the interesting details on the fourth year of Al Horford‘s contract with the Sixers. Currently, Horford’s $26.5MM salary for that season is only partially guaranteed for $14.5MM. However, that guarantee jumps to $19.5MM if Philadelphia makes the NBA Finals in 2020, 2021, or 2022. It would become fully guaranteed if the 76ers win a title in one of those seasons.
  • Alen Smailagic‘s rookie contract from the Warriors is a four-year, minimum-salary pact with the first two years guaranteed, reports Michael Scotto of The Athletic (via Twitter). Despite being over the tax line, Golden State technically has access to the full mid-level exception, which allowed the club to go up to four years for the No. 39 overall pick.
  • Ivica Zubac‘s four-year deal with the Clippers includes a team option in the final season, tweets Keith Smith of RealGM. As Siegel details (via Twitter), it has a total value of about $28.52MM.
  • According to Smith (Twitter link), the Bulls‘ three-year contract for Ryan Arcidiacono also has a team option for its final season.

Sixers Sign Al Horford To Four-Year Deal

JULY 10: The Sixers have made it official, announcing the signing of Horford today in a press release.

“We’re excited to welcome one of the NBA’s best frontcourt players in Al Horford to Philadelphia,” GM Elton Brand said in a statement. “He has built his reputation around hard work and a tradition of winning, which are the same qualities that have formed the foundation of the 76ers. Al’s playmaking, elite defensive talents and veteran leadership confirm why he is a crucial addition to our roster. We have gained a championship-level teammate that will not only complement our current makeup, but will help grow our young core as we strive for the highest level of success.”

JUNE 30: The Sixers have revealed themselves as Al Horford‘s mystery suitor, having reached an agreement with the free agent big man on a four-year, $109MM deal, agent Jason Glushon tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Horford’s four-year pact will actually include $97MM in guaranteed money, with $12MM in bonuses linked to potential championships.

[UPDATE: New details on structure of Horford’s contract]

The Sixers’ deal with Horford is the latest big move in a day full of them for the team. J.J. Redick is headed to New Orleans, and Jimmy Butler is Miami-bound, but the 76ers agreed to re-sign Tobias Harris and will add Josh Richardson in the process of signing-and-trading Butler to the Heat. The club now projects to have a potential starting five made up of Harris, Richardson, Horford, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid.

Horford, 33, averaged 13.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 4.2 APG on .535/.360/.821 shooting in 68 games (29.0 MPG) last season for the Celtics. However, his value extends beyond his numbers — he’s a strong defender who is capable of protecting the rim or switching onto perimeter players, and he keeps opposing defenses on their toes with his ability to pick and pop.

It will be interesting to see how Horford fits alongside Embiid in the Sixers’ frontcourt. While Horford is more of a center, he showed in Boston that he could play next to another center, as the C’s often used a Horford/Aron Baynes combination up front.

Horford had a player option for 2019/20 with the Celtics worth approximately $30MM, but decided to turn down that option in search of a longer-term deal. Rumors quickly began circulating about a four-year, $100MM+ deal for Horford, though it wasn’t clear which team was prepared to offer that sort of deal. The Mavericks, Kings, Pelicans, and Clippers were named as possible Horford suitors, but it was the Sixers that landed him.

According to Keith Smith of RealGM (via Twitter), Wojnarowski said during an appearance on ESPN that the Celtics – who managed to retain Horford’s Bird rights by agreeing to acquire Kemba Walker via sign-and-trade, were willing to go up to four years, but the gap in guaranteed money compared to Philadelphia’s offer was too significant.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Hornets Acquire Terry Rozier Via Sign-And-Trade

JULY 6: The trade is official, the Hornets announced in a press release. In addition to swapping Walker for Rozier, Charlotte has received a protected 2020 second-round pick and sent a 2020 second-rounder to Boston. The pick going to the Celtics is coming from the Knicks or Nets through the Magic, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. “We’re excited to be able to acquire Terry in this sign-and-trade deal,” Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak said. “He is an up-and-coming player who has shown continued improvement in his four NBA seasons, and we believe he can take that next step as a starting point guard in this league.”

JUNE 30: The Hornets are on track to acquire Celtics RFA point guard Terry Rozier via a sign-and-trade deal, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). According to Charania, Rozier will get a three-year, $58MM deal, and it will be fully guaranteed (Twitter link).

Rozier will replace longtime Hornets point guard Kemba Walker in Charlotte’s backcourt, with Walker reportedly set to join the Celtics. The Hornets entered the offseason projected to be an over-the-cap team with no room available to make a bid for Rozier, so working out a sign-and-trade with Boston involving Kemba will allow them to add a quality replacement at the point.

Rozier, 25, had a down year in 2018/19 as he struggled with an inconsistent role coming off the bench behind Irving. However, he flashed serious upside down the stretch in 2017/18, averaging 16.5 PPG, 5.7 APG, and 5.3 RPG in 19 playoff games that spring. The Hornets will be counting on him to recapture that form in Charlotte.

As cap expert Albert Nahmad details (via Twitter), the Hornets, Celtics, and Nets may complete a three-way deal involving a handful of signed-and-traded players, with Kyrie Irving headed to Brooklyn. While such a deal could theoretically work financially, the Nets would need to be incentivized to cooperate and help out two conference rivals.

The Hornets will become hard-capped as a result of acquiring Rozier via a sign-and-trade, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The Celtics would also face a hard cap if they land Walker via sign-and-trade. Both teams would be prohibited from spending beyond the $138,928,000 tax apron during the 2019/20 league year.

If they can acquire Walker without using cap room and remain an over-the-cap team, the Celtics could retain Al Horford‘s Bird rights and could technically bring him back. Chris Mannix of and Keith Smith of RealGM suggest (via Twitter) that Boston is aggressively exploring avenues to make that work, but Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald (Twitter link) hears from a source close to Horford that he’s still unlikely to return.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sixers Notes: Horford, Cap Room, Scott, Butler

Al Horford‘s four-year, $109MM deal with the Sixers was originally reported to have a $97MM value with $12MM in additional bonuses tied to potential championships. However, according to Derek Bodner of The Athletic, that’s not quite right.

In a series of tweets, Bodner explains that the non-guaranteed $12MM in Horford’s contract all comes in the fourth and final year of the deal, which is partially guaranteed. There are team-related benchmarks, such as winning a championship, that could trigger that money to become guaranteed, per Bodner.

That means that Horford’s starting salary will be higher than originally anticipated — a deal with unlikely bonuses in every season might have started in the neighborhood of $22.5MM, but the actual contract is expected to start much higher than that.

Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter links) hears that Horford’s pact will have a first-year salary around $28MM, which means it won’t have increasing cap hits every year. That could help the Sixers in future seasons if they have to deal with tax penalties, which seems likely, given their lucrative long-term commitments to Horford, Joel Embiid, and Tobias Harris, along with Ben Simmons‘ probable max deal.

Here’s more on the 76ers:

  • Based on the structure of Horford’s deal, the Sixers will have a little over $2MM in cap room left, rather than the $7-8MM figures that have been reported, tweets Bodner. Based on my math, a $28MM starting salary for Horford would leave about $2.27MM in space.
  • As a result of their cap situation, the 76ers will use the room exception to complete Mike Scott‘s two-year, $9.8MM contract, Bodner clarifies (via Twitter). The team could technically have completed Scott’s deal using his Non-Bird rights, but will need to renounce his cap hold to create room for Horford and Josh Richardson.
  • There are conflicting reports on just how aggressively the Sixers attempted to re-sign Jimmy Butler in free agency. As relayed by RealGM, a report from Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports says Philadelphia offered Butler a full five-year max, while ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania of The Athletic have suggested otherwise. Haberstroh’s report acknowledges that the 76ers may have put their alleged offer on the table with the understanding that Butler wouldn’t accept, since he had already decided to move on.

Eastern Notes: Heat, Horford, Knicks, Hornets

The Heat have engaged the Wizards in trade discussions, a source in contact with one of the teams tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). Jackson notes that Miami “loves” Bradley Beal, but acknowledges that Washington has repeatedly indicated it has no plans to move its star shooting guard. Even if the Wizards were willing to discuss Beal, the Heat’s limited assets and difficult cap situation would make it “highly challenging” to put together a realistic deal, Jackson adds.

In other Heat trade news, the proposed deal with the Mavericks that appeared to be nearing completion on Sunday now looks dead. It won’t receive the same scrutiny or mockery that the in-season Dillon Brooks/MarShon Brooks mix-up involving the Wizards, Grizzlies, and Suns did, given everything else that’s going on this week, but the Mavs/Heat deal apparently also fell apart due to a miscommunication — Miami was certain that Goran Dragic was involved, while Dallas thought it was acquiring Kelly Olynyk and Derrick Jones, as Tim Cato of The Athletic details.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • A source tells Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald that Al Horford‘s decision to sign with the Sixers was partly about money, but also about the opportunity to play alongside a star center. Horford has “always been uncomfortable in a traditional center’s role,” Murphy writes.
  • Multiple league executives questioned why the Knicks used their cap room to sign a collection of non-stars rather than trying to take on bad contracts to add future assets, writes Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic.
  • Hornets owner Michael Jordan issued a statement today bidding farewell to Kemba Walker and thanking him for “eight incredible seasons with our franchise” (link via JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors). “He always represented the Hornets, the NBA, and the city of Charlotte with class – both on the court and in the community – and we are disappointed he is leaving,” Jordan said.

Kings Plan To Make Offer To Al Horford

12:18pm: Horford has “very real interest” in joining the Sixers if they can make it possible, Amick tweets. Philadelphia is reportedly willing to facilitate a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler, but has Tobias Harris and J.J. Redick to address as well. The Kings have a better chance at signing Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon, Amick adds, and are among the teams willing to take on Clint Capela if the Rockets trade for Butler (Twitter link). Houston has found multiple teams interested in Capela and will send him to the highest bidder.

11:58pm: The Kings are ready to pounce on Al Horford with a significant offer once free agency begins, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Sacramento has the cap room to offer the rumored four-year deal in excess of $100MM, and a source tells Stein that the organization “definitely” has strong interest in Horford.

That report is confirmed by James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link), who adds that the Kings consider Horford a “major target.” However, a source tells Sam Amick of The Athletic that team officials expect him to sign with someone else (Twitter link).

Sacramento is looking for an upgrade at center over Willie Cauley-Stein, and Horford definitely qualifies. He has put up solid numbers for more than a decade in both Atlanta and Boston, earning five All-Star appearances, and is the mobile, floor-stretching style of big man that the Kings want to add.

Horford had been considered likely to stay with the Celtics, either by opting into a $30.1MM salary for next season or negotiating a longer deal with the team. However, he surprised the league two weeks ago by opting out and indicating that another team waiting with a massive contract.

Pelicans Won’t Bid For Al Horford

New Orleans won’t be among the teams pursuing Al Horford when free agency begins tomorrow, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Horford created some excitement when he followed Jrue Holiday and Zion Williamson on Twitter earlier today, but that didn’t turn out to be a sign that he was planning to join them as a teammate.

The Pelicans won’t sign anyone to a four-year contract this offseason, Stein adds (Twitter link). Horford has indicated that an unidentified team is prepared to offer him a four-year deal in excess of $100MM.

Will Guillory of The Athletic confirmed Stein’s report, adding that the bidding for Horford got higher than the Pelicans were willing to spend (Twitter link).

Horford, 33, was a veteran leader and a source of stability on an otherwise chaotic Celtics team this season. His numbers remained typical at 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 68 games.