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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A person familiar with the organization told Sporting News that landing Hawks star Al Horford is the Rockets' top-line goal in free agency, and Ryan Anderson also would be a possibility. Also, expect Morey to be creative when pursuing sign-and-trade deals involving star players like Blake Griffin, Jimmy Butler or Carmelo Anthony, should they become available.
Mike Conley has come up and would be a considerable upgrade over the declining Tony Parker, but to ink him would require clearing out some salary cap space, and then convincing Conley to leave Memphis (not that easy, he likes it there). Expect Al Horford and every major free agent not named Dwight Howard to be linked to the Spurs. Nicolas Batum would be a great fit, but the buzz is he likely stays put in Charlotte.
Teammate Paul Millsap went through his first venture into unrestricted free agency last summer. He ultimately chose the Hawks over the Magic and signed two-year deal with an additional year as a player option. Millsap said he would offer advice but only if Horford seeks it. “If he wants my two cents, he’ll ask for it,” Millsap said. “I don’t like to butt into other people’s business but I think he knows from talking to me last year what the process is going to be like. I think Al knows that every player on this team appreciates everything that he did. Love him like a brother. We know how important he is to us but it’s up to him to make his decision.”
With the Hawks, Horford, who turns 30 next month, could receive a deal worth about $150 million from the Hawks and a deal worth about $111 million with another team. “We have said it and it’s the same, he is somebody that we value and somebody that we find very, very important to us,” Hawks coach and president of basketball operations Mike Budenholzer said. “From the way he plays to his character on and off the court, he is the kind of person we want to continue to build with.”
Horford did answer a question about his time in Atlanta. He has been with the organization for nine seasons after being the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft out of the University of Florida. “It means a lot,” Horford said of Atlanta. “I’ve set up here with my family. We all live here. We live here in the summer. We live here year-round. I’m very grateful for all the people here. They have taken me in from the very first day, even though I was a Gator. They loved me. I really love the city.”
Although he may have played his last game in a Hawks uniform, on Sunday night Horford just wanted to think about one more team meeting. The Hawks will have exit interviews and locker clean out on Monday. “I’m not thinking about that,” Horford said. “We just had a tough loss. My main priority tomorrow is to meet with the team and the coaches one last time (for the season) and go from there and figure out how we can be a better group.”
“It means a lot,” Horford said of Atlanta. “I’ve set up here with my family. We all live here. We live here in the summer. We live here year-round. I’m very grateful for all the people here. They have taken me in from the very first day, even though I was a Gator. They loved me. I really love the city.”
Miami’s Hassan Whiteside, Chicago’s Pau Gasol and Atlanta’s Al Horford are the other centers the Mavericks will probably pursue if they can’t land Howard, who is good friends with Mavs forward Chandler Parsons.
August 13, 2022 | 1:15 pm EDT Update
After speaking with children during the Jr. Celtics camp, Grant Williams was asked how he felt about the trade rumors involving Brown. Williams responded by talking about the business side of the NBA while also praising Brown’s mindset and value as a player.
“I feel like Jaylen Brown is mature in his mindset, and he knows that. I talk to him, texted him, reach out of as often as I can. It’s one of those things. It’s the league. It’s a business. It’s one of those things that you can’t be discouraged by because we love JB. It also shows how valuable he is.”
Filmmaker Antoine Fuqua’s connections to the Los Angeles Lakers are via his hometown of Pittsburgh. Norm Nixon played college basketball at Duquesne University before becoming a first-round pick of the Lakers in 1977, and Fuqua was a fan of his play at point guard. But doesn’t every fan have a story of loyalty to a favorite team? That doesn’t make Fuqua unique, but he was charged with directing a project on the Lakers and creating something unique, which isn’t easy given the proliferation of Laker-related content on and off the court just in 2022. “The goal was to really keep the focus on the family,” Fuqua said.
That meant a heavy emphasis on the late Dr. Jerry Buss and his children in “Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers,” a 10-part docuseries that premieres Monday on Hulu. Buss, who died in February 2013, earned the reputation as perhaps the best team owner in modern-day sports. Long before the likes of Mark Cuban were seen as blurring the line between ownership and players, Buss was befriending a young Magic Johnson, which did not go over well for some accustomed to a different player/team owner dynamic.
Jim Buss had his turn being in charge, and the Lakers struggled. Jeanie Buss, now team president and controlling owner, became the first woman in the NBA to be the owner of a championship team in 2020. Who is in charge, how they became in charge and the stories of the siblings trying to figure out where they fit in sports — or if they even wanted to be in sports — are layers to the story told. “Obviously, the family drama that happened in the process of success, that was important, as well,” Fuqua said. “But the most important thing to me was the family aspect of it. That’s the part I don’t believe I’ve ever seen from the mouths of the family.”
August 13, 2022 | 2:04 am EDT Update
ClutchPoints: “From what I’m told, the two former teammates are back on good terms now despite [James] Harden forcing his way out of Brooklyn.” @ramonashelburne on the Sixers’ reported interest in trading for Kevin Durant.
After speaking with children during the Jr. Celtics camp, Grant Williams was asked how he felt about the trade rumors involving Brown. Williams responded by talking about the business side of the NBA while also praising Brown’s mindset and value as a player. “I feel like JB is mature in his mindset, and he knows that. I talk to him, texted him, reach out of as often as I can. It’s one of those things. It’s the league. It’s a business. It’s one of those things that you can’t be discouraged by because we love JB. It also shows how valuable he is.”