Adrian Wojnarowski said on The Vertical Podcast that the Atlanta Hawks could "push the reset button" and All-Stars like Jeff Teague and Al Horford could be available closer to the trade deadline. With the Boston Celtics reportedly looking to make moves consolidating assets for an impact player, Horford seems like a player they could pursue.
"Danny Ainge is out on the hunt for a star, and trying to figure out what that means -- what a star is. One team that I think is really at a crossroads talking to teams is the Atlanta Hawks," Wojnarowski said, adding that the Hawks have tried to gauge the value of Teague. "Al Horford is a free agent this summer. They're not sure he's going to stay, whether they're going to keep him. There's a chance this Atlanta team pushes the reset button here at some point."
Horford will turn 30 this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent, so there is an element of risk for any team that has him on their roster after the deadline. But if the Hawks do ultimately decide to be sellers, the Celtics are in a position to react to the opportunity and pursue Horford, who would be a great fit because of his two-way ability.
Horford can hit threes at a competitive rate (career: 32.5%) and he's an excellent threat in the pick-and-roll. Playing Brad Stevens' pace-and-space brand of basketball would work well, since he's also a good ball handler and passer. Horford is a savvy defender that plays strong keep-in-front defense, and can block shots. The Celtics could also comfortably play small ball around Horford, much like they do with Amir Johnson.
Because of Horford's status as an upcoming free agent, it's possible the Hawks would demand less in a trade for him than the Cavaliers would for Kevin Love. Atlanta still might want too much, or decide to keep him, but it seems unreasonable for them to require the 2016 Brooklyn pick. They could instead replenish their own assets with one of Boston's young players and multiple future picks.
On the other hand, the Celtics could also hedge their bets and wait until the summer to make a play for Horford, if there's even any interest. However, considering the possibility of championship teams offering max contracts (like the Spurs with LaMarcus Aldridge), trying to acquire him now wouldn't be a bad idea.
Plus, adding Horford to an already strong Boston roster this season could put them in a position to make a strong push in the playoffs. That could set the Celtics up as a top destination for top players this summer who are available either in trades or free agency.
The Atlanta Hawks could obviously decide to keep their players and ride out this season to make a playoff run. But if there's even a remote possibility that Al Horford is available, the Boston Celtics should be on the prowl.