As expected, Al Horford is planning to become an unrestricted free agent as it's been reported that he will not exercise his player option for 2019-20 with the Boston Celtics.
Boston Celtics center Al Horford will not exercise the $30.1M option on his 2019-20 contract and become an unrestricted free agent, league sources tell ESPN. Horford and the Celtics both have interest in working toward a new deal in July, sources tell ESPN.- Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 18, 2019
The 33-year-old is coming off his third season with the Celtics in which he averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. Horford signed with the Celtics in the summer of 2016 after spending the first nine seasons of his career with the Atlanta Hawks during which time he made four All-Star teams. Horford was named an All-Star with Boston in the 2017-18 season and is a player whose impact far exceeds his traditional box score numbers. Over the last three seasons, Horford has the highest plus-minus of any Celtics player (+818) while ranking among the top 25 in the entire league.
Should Horford ultimately reach an agreement to a long-term deal with the Celtics, his veteran presence would be crucial for a team more heavily relying on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, both of which have shown All-Star potential and are still playing on their original rookie contracts. While early signs suggest that Horford is likely to re-sign with the Celtics, at least half of the league will have enough cap space to pursue a significant deal with Horford.
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In addition to Horford, the Celtics also face questions with both Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier. Irving is expected to decline his 2019-20 player option for $21.3M and become an unrestricted free agent. Reports have linked the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks as teams that figure to be interested in pursueing Irving. Rozier is a restricted free agent and the Celtics will have the ability to match any offer, just as it did last summer with Marcus Smart. After no team extended an offer, the Celtics ultimately agreed to a 4-year, $52M deal to keep Smart in Boston.