Al Horford might be available. Should the Celtics be interested?
Much like the player's general demeanor, at least when he's not trying to collect a gambling debt from Paul Pierce, Zack Lowe reported in his most recent column that the Atlanta Haws have been quietly exploring a trade for their longest tenured player, big man Al Horford
The Atlanta Hawks quietly reached out to a select group of teams last season making Al Horford available, according to sources.
The Hawks were seeking "the right price - including an unprotected 2014 first round pick."
Let me come clean; the headline of this article is completely click bait. The Celtics shouldn't just be interested in acquiring the services of Al Horford, they should be calling the Hawks fifteen times a day about him.
If Al Horford isn't the most underrated player in the NBA, he's certainly up there. His quiet demeanor often hides what he's producing on the court, averaging nearly 18 points (on .550 shooting), 9 rebounds, a block, a steal, and 3 assists per game over the last two seasons. He's an elite defensive player who is capable of playing the both four and five positions. Providing the speed and quickness to cover players further from the rim, with the width and strength to defend stronger post players.
Offensively, he's very strong in the post with an above average mid range game. On the surface that might not sound like a whole lot, but there aren't a lot of players who can be as effective in the post as they are at the elbow. Horford's even a strong passer, averaging over 2.5 per game over his career.
He won't necessarily do anything fancy or flashy, but he does do everything exceptionally well.
Check out this series:
Respect at every spot on the court. In the post, as the pick then pop man, and again driving to the basket which ultimately results in an easy shot for Paul Millsap.
That's just one example of a few that was really well laid out by Ian Levy in this article. What's especially applicable about these videos is that Jared Sullinger and Paul Millsap have very similar offensive games, albeit Millsap's a much better player at this point. Still, the comparison holds weight; They're both very heady players without the ball, above average midrange shooters with some 3 point range, and both have acceptable post games.
The problem for the Boston Celtics is finding the right package. While Lowe suggested the package would need to include an 'unprotected first', I get the feeling the price could be much higher, as you'd expect to see plenty of suitors for Horford's services. In particular, the Chicago Bulls, who are currently armed with a trove of young assets, including the already very impressive Nikola Mirotic.
In order to acquire Horford (whose contract doesn't expire until the end of next season), I think the Celtics need to break the bank. Meaning either this year's unprotected first or Marcus Smart, Jeff Green, and at least one of Brooklyn's picks.
That might sound like a stiff price to pay, because it is. But a look across the league will remind you of this; there's not a whole lot of 6 foot 10 inch guys who can walk and chew gum, let alone provide the elite two way production Al Horford can provide.