The Atlanta Hawks have agreed to a 4-year $70 million with swingman Kent Bazemore, according to The Vertical's Shams Charania. Bazemore will have a player option in the final year. With the Hawks already agreeing to terms with Dwight Howard earlier Friday, it is unlikely they will have the financial ability to sign Al Horford. Bazemore turned down an extra $2 million from both the Lakers and Rockets to stay in Atlanta, per NBA.com's David Aldridge.
Because the Hawks only had early bird rights on Bazemore, they must use their cap space to absorb his salary. Therefore, they must renounce their cap hold on Horford to complete the signing. However, ESPN's Brian Windhorst reports late Friday night that the Hawks are searching the league for a trade partner to allow them to carve out more space to retain Horford. It is a difficult scenario, but with abundant cap space league-wide, certainly possible.
The Vertical's Bobby Marks stated that the Hawks would only need to open up an extra $12 million in space by trade to be able to keep Horford. They could potentially accomplish this by trading Tiago Splitter and Thabo Sefolosha without receiving salary in return.
Paul Millsap, of all people, could be the one on the move, as Cleveland.com's Chris Haynes reported the Hawks have held discussions with the Phoenix Suns to send Millsap into their cap space for a piece of their abundant draft pick collection. That would be a surprising move, considering Millsap was the Hawks' best player last season. But with Howard in the fold, there is only enough room for one great power forward next to him. Millsap or Horford would be unhappy to say the least if they were moved to the bench.
The Celtics met with Horford Friday evening and may very well emerge from that meeting with a four-year maximum salary agreement. It would set up a huge surprise for their meeting with Kevin Durant tomorrow, putting in place the pieces Danny Ainge had hoped for to attract Durant.
According to the Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach, a source says the meeting went "very well" and there is a "good chance" the Celtics will sign Horford -- as is tradition.
Boston's main competition for Horford outside of Atlanta is the Houston Rockets, who need to replace Dwight Howard in the paint. Horford met with Houston earlier Friday and will likely be offering the four-year max as well. The Oklahoma City Thunder would be an even stronger competitor, but they have to trade Enes Kanter into cap space and shed even more salary to sign Horford.