Al Horford will reportedly choose between the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski. Woj reports that the Celtics and Wizards have "emerged as frontrunners" as the Thunder and Hawks would need to make further trades to clear the cap space to sign Horford.
Horford will reportedly make his final decision later Saturday evening as reported by Woj and Chris Vivlamore of AJC.
Horford would likely be signing a four-year, $113 million maximum contract. The 30-year-old big met with the Atlanta Hawks, Celtics, Wizards and one mystery team on Friday. ESPN's Marc Stein reports the mystery team was the Detroit Pistons, but they are no longer in the picture.
However, the Hawks have reportedly increased their offer to Horford to include a fifth year according to Zach Klein of WSB Atlanta. Klein reports the offer is not for a max salary, but would still possibly mean more overall money to Horford. Considering Horford's fifth year on this contract would be his age-35 season, having that money guaranteed now is a crucial insurance against age breaking him down.
By re-signing with the Hawks, Horford can receive a fifth year on this contract and 7.5-percent raises as opposed to the 4.5-percent the Celtics can offer him. This allows the Hawks to offer Horford slightly less than the max and still offer more money overall than the Celtics or Wizards.
Mapped out max payment schedule for @Al_Horford from #ATLHawks + #Celtics, with 4-year comparison. #NBAFreeAgency pic.twitter.com/7qOZyuDOEu— Jared Weiss (@CLNS_JaredWeiss) July 2, 2016
After the Hawks signed Dwight Howard, reports emerged that they were working to trade away salary to make Horford a competitive offer. But with Paul Millsap reportedly being the focus of those talks, Horford has apparently turned his attention to Boston and Washington. The Hawks continue to be in talks to move Millsap as of 2:30 pm Saturday according to Woj.
The Celtics are unlikely to get a decision on Horford before their meeting with Kevin Durant based on Woj's reported timeline. Even if that is the case, the signals are clear enough that Danny Ainge can pitch Durant on a future with Horford or another star after the Celtics have demonstrated their competitiveness on the free agent market. There is also the clear possibility that a Horford agreement can quietly be completed ahead of the Durant meeting that is not leaked until later in the evening.