If Al Horford opts out of his contract this month, he’s probably unlikely to top his $30MM+ player-option salary on the open market, but he should be able to top that total figure on a multiyear deal. That’s a scenario that intrigues the Celtics.
Speaking today to reporters, including Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald, C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said that restructuring Horford’s contract into a longer, more cap-friendly deal is a “priority” for the club this summer.
NBA rules don’t technically allow teams to restructure contracts to reduce cap hits in the same way that NFL franchises can. But if Horford turns down his player option, he and the Celtics could essentially start from scratch on a new deal — it wouldn’t be a restructuring so much as a brand new contract. If the C’s are able to negotiate a starting salary in the range of, say, $20-25MM, it would create some added cap flexibility for the coming offseason.
Here’s more on the Celtics:
- Despite suffering a mild heart attack last month, Ainge said he’s feeling good and will continue to lead the Celtics going forward, writes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “My role is not going to change,” Ainge said.
- We passed along some of Ainge’s comments on Kyrie Irving in an earlier story, but Boston’s president of basketball operations offered a few more observations on the All-Star point guard. As Himmelsbach relays, Ainge said he had no regrets about the risk the Celtics took when they acquired Irving in 2017, and dismissed the idea that Kyrie was largely to blame for the club’s struggles in 2018/19. “We had a lot of reasons the team did not succeed this year,” Ainge said. “Kyrie deserves his share of the blame, but not any more than anybody else. There’s a lot of guys that didn’t handle things the right way and didn’t make the sacrifices that needed to be done for the benefit of the team. So I think that they’re all going to learn from it, including Kyrie.”
- Ainge praised restricted-free-agent-to-be Terry Rozier, despite the fact that Rozier has publicly griped about the role he had with the Celtics this season. “I think that if Terry was in the right circumstance and the right role, I think he would love playing in Boston,” Ainge said, per Himmelsbach.
- Ainge also acknowledged that the Celtics will consider draft-pick trades and told reporters that Brad Stevens continues to meet with candidates to replace assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry, according to Murphy and Himmelsbach.
- Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston tweets that the Celtics worked out Kevin Porter Jr. (USC), Luguentz Dort (Arizona State), Tyler Herro (Kentucky), Talen Horton-Tucker (Iowa State), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (VA Tech), and Skyler Flatten (South Dakota State) on Tuesday. Herro made a strong impression, per Aaron Torres of FOX Sports (Twitter link).