Boston Celtics Rumors: Al Horford's future in Boston could depend on Kyrie Irving's free agency
What's the rumor?
Al Horford has an upcoming $30.1 million player option on his contract with the Boston Celtics, and the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett has previously suggested that Horford may turn down the final year of his existing deal in favor of securing a long-term deal.
In case you didn't know...
Horford spent the first decade of his career with the Atlanta Hawks, before joining the Celtics as an unrestricted free agent in 2016. The Dominican is a five-time All-Star (once with the Celtics), and during the 18/19 campaign, Horford averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game.
The heart of the matter
During a miserable Celtics season, Horford was one of the few individuals to receive any credit. Horford was a consistent performer for Brad Stevens' team, making contributions at both ends of the court -- and there is no doubting that the veteran would be a major asset to any contending team around the league.
Following his impressive performances during the 18/19 season, the Celtics are believed to be keen to retain Horford's services, although Dan Favale is reporting that a deal is less appealing to Boston if Kyrie Irving exits in free agency:
No one knows what Kyrie Irving (player option) will do in free agency. Re-upping Horford makes too much sense if he stays. It would be less appealing, for both player and team, if Irving flees for Los Angeles, New York or somewhere else.
Boston might not lean into a full-tilt rebuild without its All-NBA floor general, but the team's timeline would shift. Keeping Horford on the books through his age-35 season wouldn't have the same pull as the Celtics recalibrate around Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, particularly with Gordon Hayward still a wild card.
Ultimately, with Irving looking increasingly likely to leave in free agency, and Horford seeking a long-term deal -- a summer exit may be in the best interests of both parties.
After suffering a disappointing playoff exit to the Bucks, the Celtics are now turning their attention to the upcoming offseason. The team has a number of draft picks, and a trade for Anthony Davis remains a possibility.