Dwight Howard agrees to 3 year deal with Hawks, opens door for Al Horford to sign with Boston?

According to The Vertical's Shams Charania, former All-Star center Dwight Howard has agreed to 3 year, $70.5 million deal with the Atlanta Hawks:

While Howard was considered to be a Celtics' target, he wasn't as high on Danny Ainge's priority list as Atlanta big man Al Horford, who is expected to be offered a max contract in his meeting with a team of Boston delegates tonight.

The Howard signing could be good news for the C's, as it seemingly indicates that the Hawks have decided to hire a replacement center as they consider Horford to be out the door.

Even if Atlanta wanted to keep Horford, the Howard signing puts them in a rough place in terms of cap space. The Hawks would have to choose between re-signing Al or Kent Bazemore:

The (Dwight Howard) deal averages $23.5 million in salary, the highest amount for a center so far in free agency.
Once the Hawks renounce the rights to Kirk Hinrich and Kris Humphries, the franchise will have $22.4 million in salary cap space. Currently, Atlanta likely can only sign one of its free agents, Al Horford or Kent Bazemore.

The Celtics are also bringing two of their starters to their meeting with Horford tonight, including All-Star Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder:

In addition, after signing with the Portland Trail Blazers, former Celtic Evan Turner left some final words of wisdom for Boston fans, including that Ainge seemed confident in getting the Horford deal done:

Stay posted to Celtics Life for future free agency updates.

Photo: Getty Images

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