“He’s a perfect fit,” Crowder said. “That’s what we were telling him. He had Washington and some other teams looking at him, but we beat them four times this year. You don’t want to go there. We play through our bigs, and a lot of teams don’t play through their bigs — they post them up and give them the ball. Our bigs, like he did in Atlanta, he makes the play. We were explaining our basketball terminology to him, and how ours will fit right in with (his) game. It’s going to mesh. Most guys have to blend in and fit in, but it’s going to be automatically just there. The style he plays, that’s what we reiterated to him: The way we play fits you so well. We need you. You need us. Let’s make it happen.”
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Jason Lieser: Pat Riley says Al Horford was not a free agent target. Heat eliminated that option as soon as Hassan Whiteside agreed to his deal.
In the end, what did it come down to for you to leave? Al Horford: It was extremely difficult but at the end looking at the future of the team and having an opportunity to win in a different scenario for me. It wasn’t an easy decision for me but I think at the end Boston just felt it was the best fit for me when looking at everything from their players top to bottom, the amount of players they had and the potential there.
Were you still with the Hawks right up to the end? Al Horford: At the beginning my plan was to stay (in Atlanta). I started to see that when the team stepped up and did what they had to do, I didn’t think we were on the same page. That’s when I was forced to start looking at other options. Q. Are you talking about the Hawks signing Dwight Howard? Al Horford: No, it was more from a financial standpoint.
Agent Jason Glushon has opened his own agency and negotiated forward Al Horford’s $113 million, four-year maximum free agent deal with the Boston Celtics. Glushon opened Glushon Sports Management after leaving Wasserman in May. Horford followed Glushon to his new agency, which is based in Los Angeles.
Brian Robb: Isaiah on horford meeting: I had that one wrapped up.
The Celts did get Al Horford to agree to a free agent deal, a move the now-former Atlanta center delivered via Twitter after Ainge, Brad Stevens, ownership, a group of players and Tom Brady had met with Durant in the Hamptons earlier on Saturday. But Durant may have been ahead of the C’s on that news. “I got the impression that they knew something before we did,” said Ainge. “I know that they had some conversation. They were very familiar with what Horford was choosing between. It seemed to me in the presentation like Al and KD had been discussing their plans together.”
Brian Robb: Breakdown of Al Horford’s 4-year deal: 2016-17: $26,540,100 2017-18: $27,734,405 2018-19: $28,928,709 2019-20: $30,123,014 (player option)
Factor No. 1, according to league sources: Horford was none too pleased with how reluctant the Hawks were to come forward with a full five-year max. Factor No. 2: Atlanta’s signing of Dwight Howard. Could there be a more contradicting force in the NBA to Horford than Howard, in terms of substance vs. style? “He didn’t want to play with Dwight,” a person familiar with the situation told CBS Sports.
David Aldridge: This will be little solace to Washington & their fans, but it was really, really close between the Cs & Wiz. Details in a few on @NBATV!
Boston, which met with Durant on Saturday evening, may have boosted its chances of landing Durant by reaching an agreement with free-agent forward Al Horford on Saturday. Rich Kleiman, Durant’s agent, had been recruiting Horford to join Oklahoma City, according to a source.
One person with knowledge of the situation said the addition of Al Horford to the Celtics could play a part in Durant’s decision, but it will not be an overriding factor.
On Saturday evening, a deep Celtics contingent that even included Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wrapped up a recruiting meeting in New York with the prize of this free agent class, Kevin Durant. The Celtics were pleased with the gathering, and as they boarded a private jet to fly back to Boston they were also thinking about forward Al Horford, their other prime target. But as the jet prepared to take off, a phone rang and delivered the news the Celtics, their fans, and their city have been waiting for: Al Horford had accepted Boston’s four-year, $113 million maximum-salary contract offer. The pilot was asked to pull to the side of the runway, a source said, and when the call ended, there was a celebration.
Horford’s father, Tito, said in a telephone interview Saturday night that his son had narrowed his choices down to the Hawks and the Celtics. As the family discussed the options, the conversation often returned to the uncommon passion of Boston’s fans. In Atlanta, support at home games was sometimes tepid, despite the fact that the Hawks had gone 108-56 over the last two years. “There wasn’t as much motivation for him when he saw all the empty seats when they were winning,” Tito Horford said. “He said to me, ‘Dad, when we were playing Boston, they were down 15 points and they were cheering their team like they were winning the game. They’re so into the game.’ This is special for us, especially for him.”
Tito Horford said Durant would certainly be a “big fish.” But he said his son did not mention the possibility of Durant joining him in Boston and stressed that it was not the reason he chose the Celtics. “He just said ‘Right now, I’m excited,’ ” Tito Horford said. “He said, ‘I’m going to play for the Celtics, Dad. I don’t know who else they might get, but I’m here, and I’m hoping for the best.’ ”
Ramona Shelburne: Al Horford’s four-year, $113 million deal with the Celtics includes a player option after the third year, according to his agent Jason Glushon.
Isaiah Thomas: Let’s getit!!! RT @Al Horford: Celtic Pride!!!!!!
David Aldridge: League source: Horford to Boston.
Brian Windhorst: Hawks offer to Al Horford topped out at $136 million over 5 years, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Boston and Washington have rapidly lost hope of Al Horford leaving the Hawks, league sources tell @The Vertical.
Zach Klein: Per NBA league source, Hawks have upped their offer to Al Horford & added a 5th yr. Not 5-yr Max though
Marc Stein: Detroit was the mystery team that made Al Horford’s short list of visits, sources say, but he looks lasered in now on Celtics/Wizards/Hawks
Zach Lowe: Can confirm this re DET, not that Steiny needs any confirmation. twitter.com/ESPNSteinLine/…
The Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards have emerged as the frontrunners to sign free-agent big man Al Horford, and a final decision is expected Saturday night, league sources told The Vertical.
Horford, 30, pared down the teams on Saturday morning, league sources said. Horford met with four teams Friday in Atlanta, including the Celtics and Wizards, sources said.
Zach Klein: Multiple sources tell me Al Horford is not a fan of the Dwight Howard signing. Could play major role in decision to stay with Hawks
According to sources, the Celtics’ delegation included team executives as well as Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas and forward Jae Crowder. On Friday, former Celtics guard Evan Turner told the Globe that in recent conversations, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge “seemed confident” about signing Horford.
Adam Himmelsbach: Source familiar w/Celtics meeting w/ Horford says it went well & that belief is Boston has “good chance” of signing: bostonglobe.com/sports/celtics…
Silent for most of the opening of free agency, the Wizards took a trip to Atlanta to make a recruiting pitch to free agent forward/center Al Horford, league sources told CSNmidatlantic.com on Friday night.
Ramona Shelburne: Hawks have yet to offer the full max to Al Horford, per sources.
Jay King: On NBA TV, David Aldridge said the Celtics made a “strong presentation” for Al Horford. Whatever that means.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Hawks aren’t ruling out possibility that they could bring back Al Horford. If he decides to stay, ATL has ways to unload salary. Nevertheless, Horford’s contract talks have been ongoing with Hawks, sources say. He’s been pursuing max deal. Now comes hard choice for him.
Brian Windhorst: Hawks have been involved in trade talks today in an effort to open additional cap space to re-sign Al Horford if needed, sources say.
J. Michael Falgoust: Al Horford just met with Wizards, league sources just told @CSNMA #WizardsTalk
Calvin Watkins: Hawks big man Al Horford met with Houston on Friday according to a source. There is an expectation Horford makes a decision this weekend a source said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Free agent Al Horford held four meetings today — including Houston, Washington — and plans to make a decision over weekend.
Alex Kennedy: It seems Celtics want to sign Al Horford, then bring him to their meeting with Kevin Durant tomorrow. May intrigue KD (especially in East). This reminds me of Phoenix surprising LaMarcus Aldridge with Tyson Chandler at last year’s meeting. We’ll see.
Adam Himmelsbach: Evan Turner said Danny Ainge “seemed confident” about Celtics chances of signing Al Horford: bostonglobe.com/sports/celtics…
Alex Kennedy: The Boston Celtics are traveling to Atlanta to meet with Al Horford tonight, per sources. Isaiah Thomas and others will be there to pitch.
Ramona Shelburne: Fifth year obviously key for Hawks chances to retain Horford. Among teams who reached out to him on Night 1 is the Thunder, as Brian Windhorst reported they intended to as part of Durant pitch.
Darren Wolfson: FWIW, the #Twolves have not reached out on Al Horford. Thought maybe they would in the first hour and at least plant a seed. But no.
Brad Turner: Lakers have yet to reach out to Al Horford, source said.
The Vertical: Adrian Wojnarowski: Al Horford views himself as max player. Will meet with Celtics, Rockets and other teams.
Marc Stein: OKC, meanwhile, continues to probe the league for potential trade partners to take on Enes Kanter to free up money for a run at Al Horford. Don’t forget on Kanter: Has veto power over any trade until July 12 after OKC matched his Portland offer sheet AND a 15-percent trade kicker
The Celtics spent much of Thursday mapping out a midnight strategy. They are planning to be on the phone at the stroke of July 1 as the NBA’s free agent negotiating period begins just after midnight. According to sources, they have made arrangements to speak with representatives of Kevin Durant and Al Horford, if not the players themselves — the preparations in this case being the acquisition of the proper telephone numbers, not any illegal early talks.
The C’s will add a big man, most likely through free agency, but also possibly in trade. Beyond offering Horford a large deal (one league executive is certain they are willing to give the 30-year center a maximum contract), the club will also explore what would be considered lesser options.
Also adding fuel to the pursuit of Horford is the belief that Durant likes his game. Even if the latter chooses to remain with Oklahoma City on a one-year deal with an option, thus freeing him up for an even bigger free agent payday next summer, the presence of the big Hawk could make Boston more attractive. The Celts’ pitch to KD could, therefore, be more of a foundational exercise in hopes of making the score next year.
And it won’t just be members of the Celts’ basketball administration on the line speaking in harmony. A source close to the situation said that All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas will also be in the room to sing backup and take a solo turn as he and the team try to entice the prospects.
Scott Souza: #Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas said he’s spoken to free agent Al Horford & Horford’s been very positive about C’s, city of Boston.
Mark Murphy: IT on Horford’s view of C’s: “Very serious. I texted him other day. He’s open to opportunity, he’s a fan of my game, he likes how we play.”
Michael Scotto: Source: Al Horford will meet with the Houston Rockets tomorrow.
NBA sources confirmed for FOX 26 Sports that the Houston Rockets will meet with free agent center Al Horford on Friday. Horford will officially become a free agent Thursday night at 11 p.m. Central Time.
As they prepare to make their pitch to Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder have been making calls around the league looking to clear a massive amount of salary-cap space in a move rival executives believe is an effort to go after free agent Al Horford in addition to Durant, multiple sources told ESPN.com. Horford played for Thunder coach Billy Donovan at the University of Florida, where they teamed up to win two national titles, and they remain close. The Thunder have an opening at power forward after trading Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic last week.
Watch out for the Pistons on Horford; with Wednesday’s trade of Meeks, they are one tiny move away from being able to fit his max. They are working to schedule a meeting with Horford over the first 48 hours of free agency, sources say. Horford’s fit alongside Andre Drummond is another question entirely.
Chris Broussard: I’m told that besides KD, Lakers’ wish list includes Whiteside, Al Horford, Nic Batum, Harrison Barnes & Ryan Anderson
In addition to Durant, some players the Lakers have interest in are Harrison Barnes, Hassan Whiteside and Al Horford, sources say.
The Hawks, of course, face a stiff challenge in trying to retain Horford, who sources say is expected to draw free-agent interest from a number of teams, including the Lakers, Rockets, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets.
Q: Are the nets interested in signing vets? – Steve Kyler: Names I have heard connected to the Nets were Jeremy Lin, Jamal Crawford and Al Horford.
Calvin Watkins: According to a source the Houston Rockets are looking at the following high-level free agents: Al Horford, Kevin Durant, Hassan Whiteside and Ryan Anderson. The team’s search to upgrading the roster will be wide and not just strictly with these four players.
Horford’s first-year max is larger than Whiteside’s ($26 million to $22 million), and Horford will be hoping for a max deal, though the Heat believes he will be interested if Miami pursues him. The Heat also probably could sign Noah and Luol Deng for a bit more than what Whiteside would cost alone, but that wouldn’t make Miami better.
Q: What are the chances that Al Horford leaves Atlanta? – Steve Kyler: Unclear… he’s gonna take meetings so that is not a good sign, but Atlanta can offer most money.
Darren Wolfson: Heard today Wizards/Celtics/Heat also expected to be in mix for Horford. #Twolves likely call. But won’t get him. twitter.com/ESPNSteinLine/…
According to sources familiar with free agent talks, the Warriors are looking at Al Horford, Joakim Noah and even Hassan Whiteside. The contract demands might be too hefty but the goal is clear. The Warriors can’t thrive with a center that doesn’t attack the rim or score inside.
The Magic’s strategy, a source told Sporting News recently, will involve luring former Florida Gators back to Central Florida. That means former Gator champs Joakim Noah and Al Horford, but also includes Mavericks small forward Chandler Parsons, who will be a free agent this summer, too.
Marc Stein: Free Agency Rumble: Orlando, Detroit and the Lakers are all among the teams that intend to make a run at Atlanta big man Al Horford.
So why don’t mega stars ever choose the Wizards? Dudley said it’s about NBA rules more than it’s about Washington, with the league rewarding stars who remain with their current teams. “It’s the system the NBA built,” he said. “In general, no star player’s leaving to go to another team. … The system’s built for these guys to stay. Guys like Kevin Durant, Al Horford: the Wizards most likely will be going after these players, as they should. Are they really going to leave that money on the table?”
The Hawks’ number one priority is to bring back Horford, Kent Bazemore and possibly Kris Humphries as unrestricted free agents. They will also need to figure out their point guard situation – which means an almost assured trade of either Jeff Teague or Dennis Schroder. Those are the likely scenarios. However, there is a chance the Hawks could shoot for the stars and line up Horford with another max player such as Kevin Durant or DeMar DeRozan – likely the three players on the market who will get max deals.
The Magic have a wish list and I can tell you Dwight Howard is not on it. Horford is a guy they like, but I don’t think that means anything. They’ll get in line with a dozen other teams that just how this summer will play.
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October 17, 2017 | 10:28 am EDT Update
“Gotta take this one,” he said. When he stepped outside, the name on the screen gleamed back at him: Chris Paul. “I’m in,” Paul said. “What do you mean you’re in?” Harden asked. Harden and Paul were friends, and they had traded texts throughout the season. CP3, he knew, was examining his pending free agent options, and Harden was hopeful Houston was on Paul’s short list, but he was in the dark about where Paul was leaning. “I mean I’m in,” Paul repeated. “I want to come to Houston. I want to play with you.”
“We talked about it, but there was no answer to it,” D’Antoni says. “I wanted him to be MVP. I told him, ‘Let’s go for it.’ But having that and the majority of the offense in his hands was difficult.” The burden, Harden concedes, was too weighty. “It’s pretty tough to be depended on to make every single play,” he says. “It wears on you when you don’t have someone to relieve some of that for you, when you don’t have that guy who you can throw the ball to for three or four possessions in a row and say, ‘Go make a play.'”
“LeBron’s my man, but he didn’t know,” Paul says now. “I didn’t tell him initially because even though we’re so close, we’re also ultracompetitive.” Twenty minutes later, Paul finally revealed his secret. LeBron’s response? He ordered shots of Don Julio 1942 tequila and clinked glasses with his friend. “Be happy,” LeBron said.
While Stephen Curry has won two MVPs, he believes he may be entering his absolute prime. “I hope it is,” Curry told The Athletic. “You go through this NBA journey and every year you learn something else about yourself, about your team, about being an NBA player. Using all that experience to my advantage, the work you put in off the court in the summertime to get yourself ready. I don’t know exactly where the peak is, but I do think I’m the best version of myself to date.”
Game-worn jerseys from the four teams playing on the NBA’s opening night will be auctioned to raise money for hurricane recovery efforts. The NBA and Turner Sports, which will televise the Cleveland-Boston and Golden State-Houston doubleheader on TNT, will use the auction to benefit the One America Appeal. Besides the jerseys, the auction will include items such as game-worn sneakers and autographed items donated by Turner commentators.
With his 15th NBA campaign in store, LeBron James is not just looking ahead to another season in which he can “strive for greatness,” as he often puts it. This year, he’ll also set the mark for the longest-running continuous signature shoe line in league history (Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls career ended with his 14th Air Jordan shoe in Utah). “No one has ever reached number 15 before LeBron,” designer Jason Petrie said. “So it’s a big deal, and we want to make a celebration of technology, style and of LeBron’s game.”