The Boston Celtics are widely believed to be a potential fit as a Horford trade partner, but the real level of interest from general manager Danny Ainge remains to be seen in the coming days. And while Horford continues to speak positively about the city and his situation, there’s an inherent uncertainty to this process that always acts as the driving force. “I’m very happy in Atlanta,” Horford said when asked if the Hawks had reason to be concerned that he might leave. “I’ve said it repeatedly. I love the city. My family, we all live in Atlanta, we stay there in the offseason, so my focus is just to keep playing and taking it day by day and, right now, it’s to enjoy this weekend. … Just taking it day by day. That’s the only thing I can do. We really can’t worry about three or four months from now.”
The Celtics have been linked to Rockets center Dwight Howard and Hawks forward Al Horford, both of whom could be available on the trade market. But sources said the Celtics are unlikely to acquire either player before Thursday’s deadline.
Chris Mannix believes Horford would be a perfect fit with the Celtics, but the price tag might be standing in the way. “From everything I’ve been told in the last two or three days, Atlanta’s requests for both Al Horford and Jeff Teague have been borderline ridiculous,” explained Mannix. “The kind of things teams like Boston, or Milwaukee, or Denver simply won’t deal for the players they want.
The Celtics have been rumored as a possible destination for Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford, but Ainge threw a bit of cold water on that idea. Despite a batch of recent reports saying the Hawks could consider drastic changes, Ainge said he believes they will keep their core intact. "I will just remind you that 'according to reports' is the key phrase there," he said. "There's a lot of motivations that teams have. Sometimes it's just to see what the value of their players are, and by leaking things like that you can find maybe what people are willing to offer. Typically when you do that and you leak out that you're willing to move your team or break up your team and start over, you don't really get -- people are looking for bargains. They're not going to give you the best deal. So my feeling is Atlanta will stay intact. They may make a trade or two but I don't think they're going to lose their key guys."
During the Boston Celtics pregame show Tuesday night, CSNNE's Chris Mannix said he believes the team is "very much in the mix" to acquire Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford.
"I think Boston -- Al Horford is a legitimate possibility for the Celtics," Mannix said on CSNNE. "I think that is the guy, one of the guys across the league that Danny Ainge is the most excited about. He is a 4-man that would fit right into what Boston is trying to do. It will cost a lot of money to re-sign him in the offseason, but I think Boston's willing to pay it because they haven't paid a lot of money for players in recent years."
If the Hawks decide to test the market for Horford, numerous teams would potentially show interest. Sources inform ESPN that the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, and Magic have been the most aggressive in looking to acquire a veteran difference maker. The expectation is a robust market for Horford, who will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time this summer after nine seasons with the Hawks.