Michael Conroy/Associated Press
Al Horford is reportedly joining the third team of his career.
“Horford’s agent tried to do a deal in Boston, but the money was significantly less than the Philly deal,” Wojnarowski said on ESPN’s The Jump.
Wojnarowski reported June 18 that Horford declined the $30.1 million player option on his contract for the 2019-20 campaign to become an unrestricted free agent instead of returning to the Boston Celtics.
The move turned heads, especially considering Horford rejected such a financial windfall while he is likely on the back end of his career, but Wojnarowski noted there was still “motivation” on both sides to sign a long-term contract that could give the front office financial flexibility.
However, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reported Horford stopped discussing a three-year deal with the Celtics and instead was “expected” to join another team on a four-year contract.
The Florida product entered the league in 2007 when the Atlanta Hawks selected him with the No. 3 overall pick, and he has surpassed expectations as a five-time All-Star, 2010-11 All-NBA third-team selection and 2017-18 All-Defensive second-team selection.
He has been a double-double machine throughout his 12 seasons and has averaged 14.1 points and 8.4 rebounds per contest in his career. He can also extend his game to the perimeter as a three-point shooter (36.0 percent last season and 42.9 percent in 2017-18) and facilitate from the high elbow or blocks when defenders collapse on him.
Horford is a proven commodity, but there is some risk for the 76ers to sign a 33-year-old for multiple seasons.
In order to mitigate that, he will need to provide veteran leadership and poise while continuing to produce like he did in 2018-19.
Even with plenty of miles on his legs, Horford averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.3 blocks per night while shooting 53.5 percent from the field and a career-best 82.1 percent from the free-throw line last season, serving as a stabilizing force for a volatile Celtics squad that failed to live up to championship hopes.
Horford has 120 playoff games on his resume but has never played in the NBA Finals.
He won’t single-handedly change that with the Sixers, but his versatility on both ends of the floor and ability to slide in alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid figures to help Philly push toward title contention in 2019-20.
The combination of Horford and Embiid gives the 76ers a chance to own perhaps the NBA’s most productive frontcourt, but that’s dependent on their fitting well together.