The marquee free agent of the offseason is obviously Kevin Durant, and everyone will be concerned about where he’s going to land. Outside of Durant and LeBron (who has a player option for next season), Al Horford is one of the biggest names on the market. Horford has been one of the defensive anchors for the Atlanta Hawks, and he continues to play at a solid and consistent level. Shoulder injuries have caused him to stay on the sidelines for the majority of a couple seasons throughout his career, but the teams that could use him the most wouldn’t need him as a number one option anyway. This past season, despite some more shoulder issues, Horford put up averages of 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game.
So, without further adieu, here are three teams that need to get in touch with Horford and his agent as soon as possible:
The Celtics need just a couple more pieces to be a serious contender in the East. Isaiah Thomas has already started his recruitment pitch to try and lure Kevin Durant to Boston, but there still needs to be another move or two. One move they absolutely need to make is one that brings an improvement to the big man department. No one in their frontcourt is scaring anyone, and if they can get a presence in the middle on defense and one that can be a constant on offense, then that can change the way opponent’s defend this team. Right now, teams aren’t too concerned with packing the paint because the main player they have to watch is Isaiah Thomas. If they can add an offensive wing, as well as a big man who can stretch the floor and score in the paint, then that changes the whole face of their offense. On top of that, Horford possesses some great fundamentals when it comes to help defense, so he would fit in perfectly with the team defense system that Brad Stevens employs for this squad.
The Miami Heat may be in desperate need of a big man. If Chris Bosh can’t give it a go anymore due to his blood clots, that leaves a big hole to fill on this team. While Al Horford alone wouldn’t exactly replace the offensive prowess of Bosh, his defense could very well be a great asset for a team with some slower and older leaders. When you’re going to lose an integral part of the team, you want to be sure that you’re going to replace him with someone who has at least been close to the same level of play. Of course, Durant will still be a top priority for the Heat in free agency. However, Horford is a very nice insurance policy if Bosh really can’t play anymore.
Portland Trail Blazers
The young, up-and-coming Trail Blazers were a huge surprise this season. Almost all of the media members and fans alike had Portland at the bottom of the standings for their preseason predictions. Heck, even I thought they’d be praying for some ping pong balls. Well, we all know by now that we were all very, very wrong. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum made a tremendous backcourt, but the frontcourt could still use a lot of work. Most of the players on this team are younger guys who haven’t had the valuable experience needed for deep playoff runs. Also, a big weakness of this team was their defense. So, why not add a veteran big man who has been to a Conference Finals before, that can really sure up a defensive unit. Horford would be able to teach these younger guys some very valuable things about help defense and the big men could learn from a top notch vet. On top of that, this would give Lillard and McCollum an even better option to find in the corner or even at the top of the key when they start to wreak havoc in the paint.