By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Now that Anthony Davis is heading to Los Angeles, the Boston Celtics are turning their offseason attention elsewhere. That includes figuring out the future of veteran big man Al Horford.
Horford has a $30.1 million player option for the 2019-20 season, the final year of the four-year, $113 million deal he signed with Boston in 2016. Chances are the 33-year-old won’t be getting paid nearly that much on the open market if he opts out, so Horford opting in seems fairly obvious. But this is Al Horford we’re talking about.
Horford has until Tuesday to decide what he wants to do, and there has been some speculation that he may want to spend the final years of his prime on a contender. Given the Celtics missed out on Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving will likely sign elsewhere this offseason, Boston will probably shifting toward a youth movement with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading the way. Horford may look to sign a short-term contract elsewhere to chase a ring.
But not so, says the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett. Horford has said that he wants to finish his career in Boston, and Bulpett is reporting that Horford and the Celtics have been discussing a deal that would lower his salary next season while adding two more years to his contract. Horford had not made a decision on his player option as of Saturday night, according to the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach.
Getting Horford back for three more years, on a more manageable number next season, would be a much-needed win for the Celtics this offseason. Horford averaged a modest 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds in his 68 games last season, but his impact goes far beyond the stat sheet. He is Boston’s glue guy and his versatility helps him quarterback their play on both ends of the floor. And if Irving is indeed heading elsewhere this summer, the Celtics are going to need Horford’s leadership as they hand the keys over to the young guys.
A lower salary for Horford will also give Boston a little more wiggle room to add another veteran to the mix this offseason, a luxury they won’t have without Horford reworking his deal. This would be a much more impactful assist than what Horford usually does on the floor.
There’s still a chance that Horford opts out and goes elsewhere, hoping to latch on with a contender and win the title that has alluded him throughout his 12-year NBA career. But if we know anything about Al Horford, he’s likely going to do what’s best for himself and the Celtics.