Al Horford Potential Landing Spots; Testing Free Agency After 9 Seasons With Atlanta
For the first time in AL Horford’s nine-year career, he will be testing the waters of free agency this summer. Since he came into the league in 2007 as the number three overall pick, he has been one of the most versatile big men in the game, providing almost everything teams look for in a front court anchor. It is a perfect time for the veteran big man to test out the market, as we all saw what contracts were being offered to free agents last season.
It has been five years since Horford signed his 60 million dollar deal back in 2010-2011 and he should be receiving a raise with any team he signs with in the off season. After chronicling certain landing spots for another big free agent Dwight Howard, we will be doing the same for Hawks’ forward Al Horford.
Here is a look at two of the most likely destinations for the highly sought out big man.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers have more cap room than almost any team in the league and will be looking for the perfect player to spend it on. After a surprising playoff appearance this season and a possibility of moving even further in the post season, Portland should be able to attract some type of free agent this summer to join their young core.
This team was not just carried by Damian Lillard this season, they played team basketball and had huge contributions from up and coming players like Mason Plumlee and Al-Farouq Aminu. Horford would be able to easily fit within the system that coach of the year runner-up Terry Stotts has laid out with his ability to pass the ball and be in an offense that is constantly moving. Horford would be able to lift the Blazers ceiling higher than it is with the team currently constructed.
Signing with the Blazers would also give the all-star the ability to shift back into his natural and preferred position at power forward, something he has not had the opportunity to after Josh Smith and Paul Millsap holding down that spot his entire career.
The Magic have been stuck in the lottery for what seems like entirety. This team has the parts and pieces to contend, but have not put it all together yet. A team with Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, and Nikola Vucevic should be able to contend for a playoff spot, especially in the Eastern Conference, but this team lacks a veteran presence on the court and in the locker room.
Watching Orlando Magic games throughout the year, it seems like this team will get into stretches where they can not buy a bucket. The team gets easily frustrated after going through droughts and starts to force up ugly shots, passes that results into turnovers and get overly aggressive on the defensive end. Having Horford on the team would be able to change all of that. Having someone to calm the other players and provided leadership, while the core learns how to be successful in the NBA would be a huge step in rebuilding for the Magic.
Few teams have this to pitch to him as well, location. Horford went to school in Florida, winning two championships in his tenure at Gainesville. Horford would be received back into Florida with open arms.
Horford could sign with Orlando and be the de-facto number one option for a young team and possibly grooming all the players around him and developing a solid core that would easily crack the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference next season, with the chance to build into something more in the coming seasons.
(Al Horford Potential Landing Spots)