Celtics plan on offering Al Horford a max contract tonight

With NBA Free Agency officially underway, murmurs are coming out of the rumor mill that the Celtics plan to offer Al Horford a max contract in a meeting with him tonight. Via Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:

The Celtics will be flying out to meet with Al Horford tonight, and a league source fully expects that Danny Ainge will be bearing a maximum contract offer.

There had been talk during the season that perhaps the Hawks’ center, who turned 30 last month, wasn’t worth that level of a deal. But the Celts have apparently come around on that, and at four years for a little more than $113 million, he’d easily fit into their salary structure, with ample room left for a premier scorer.

With the Celtics setting their eyes on Kevin Durant as well, they hope to have Horford on board by the time they meet with him in NY tomorrow. However, the Celts are not trying to sign Al Horford on the contingency that Durant comes as well. Horford has been on their radar for a long time and they feel he fits their offense perfectly:

The latter role would best be filled by Kevin Durant, with whom the Celtics will be meeting tomorrow on Long Island. If they can first reach an agreement with his friend Horford, that could make Boston a more desirable landing spot for Durant either now or next summer if he signs a one year deal with an option to stay in Oklahoma City this season.

But even if the C’s fail on Durant, they see Horford as an important piece in how they want to play. He has good size, and his ability to step outside and shoot works very well in Brad Stevens’ desired method of attack. (Having players who can space the floor means defenders have to stay closer, thus opening the middle for the type of actions the coach likes to run.)

With the rumor that the Hawks made traction in talks with Dwight Howard today, I know Cs fans are excited at the prospect of grabbing Horford instead of Howard. He is a tremendous high and low post player who can make our offense dynamic with his versatile set of skills. Adding him to the team while going into a meeting with Durant tomorrow could boost our chances of convincing the superstar forward to come to Boston. If I'm the Celts, I sign Horford tonight and convince him to go to that meeting with Ainge tomorrow in Long Island. Buckle up Celtics fans, the fun is just beginning.

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