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Blakely: Celtics have emerged as a favorite for Hawks' Al Horford

The veteran big man is a player the Celtics have been connected to for over a week now, and would be a great fit in Boston's system.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Al Horford may be the best fit for the Celtics should they want to add to their team with less than 24 hours to go until the trade deadline. A two-way veteran who seemingly fits right in with Brad Stevens' pace and space philosophy, he both fits a need on the interior and would be right up with Isaiah Thomas immediately as the team's most purely talented player.

As of Wednesday afternoon, it appears that the rumors connecting Horford to Boston now have some probable cause behind them with CSNNE's A. Sherrod Blakely reporting that Boston is a top possible landing spot for Atlanta's center:

The Atlanta Hawks have not made a decision on whether they will trade Al Horford but a league source tells that the Boston Celtics have emerged as one of the favorites to land him if the Hawks decide to part ways with the veteran forward.

The crucial question surrounding Horford isn't whether or not he'd fit and help the team--that's almost an assurance. However, he is in the final season of a five-year, $60-million deal and will be heading into free agency bonanza with the cap boom coming up this summer.

I wrote yesterday there's no deal out there that warrants Boston giving up their coveted 2016 Brooklyn pick. That's the case here as well, but there are plenty of other assets that could be at play should the Hawks want to get something for Horford before his contract expires at year's end.

With Thomas and Horford buddying up at the All-Star Game on the court and some loose reports stating that "a player" told I.T. he would enjoy the idea of playing in Boston, many have assumed that this is the deal that makes the most sense for Boston all-around. If he does indeed want to be here, the chance of him signing with the C's would be better if he was in-house than if he stays in Atlanta through the contract expiration or is sent elsewhere by 3 PM tomorrow.

Talking with Blakely in Toronto, Horford seemed prepared for anything this week:

For me, I ask for guidance but at the end of the day I understand the business of everything...I know how everything works. For me, I need to stay diligent, keep doing what I do and whatever happens, happens.

The wheels are beginning to turn towards some action for the C's, but for the moment talk is cheap. We'll see if it turns into action by Thursday afternoon.

Horford is averaging 15.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.5 blocks in 55 games shooting an effective 55% from the field and 34% outside. His 19.91 player efficiency rating is 44th among NBA players.

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