When Al Horford opted out of the final year of his contract with the Boston Celtics to become a free agent, there were immediate reports Horford already knew he could command a four-year deal worth more than $100 million.
The Kings might be willing to give it to him.
A league source confirmed to The Sacramento Bee on Friday the Kings are one of the teams showing interest in the five-time NBA All-Star. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne reported earlier Friday the Kings and Philadelphia 76ers were “surprise bidders” for Horford’s services in addition to teams such as the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans.
The Kings could have more than $62 million to spend in free agency and they are looking to make a big move at the center position after Willie Cauley-Stein’s agent told The Bee his client does not want to return next season. Even if small forward Harrison Barnes accepts an offer that would reportedly pay him up to $90 million over four years, the Kings will still have nearly $40 million in salary cap space to sign free agents.
Various reports in recent months have linked the Kings to free agents such as Nikola Vucevic and DeAndre Jordan, but Horford immediately became a target for the Kings when he declined his $30.1 million option with the Celtics. Sacramento now has an attractive pool of available centers that could include the Houston Rockets’ Clint Capela and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Steven Adams if those teams choose to make cap-clearing moves to acquire other players.
Horford, 33, has averaged 14.1 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 blocks per game over 12 NBA seasons. He is an exceptional defender and 3-pointer shooter who would immediately improve Sacramento’s interior defense, perimeter shooting and offensive spacing.
Horford was an All-Star in 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2018. He was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2018. He averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.3 blocks last season for the Celtics.
The New York Times reported Friday the Orlando Magic are preparing to offer Vucevic a four-year deal worth more than $90 million in hopes of finalizing a deal shortly after free agency begins Sunday. The Times also reported the Rockets believe they had a trade partner for Capela, but they do not intend to make a deal until they’re sure they can acquire Jimmy Butler from the 76ers. If that happens, the Kings could potentially acquire Capela in a three-team trade.