Al Horford will be a Sacramento King next season, I have proof.
Well, not proof, per se, but I have a wild string of events that I think could be convincing if I got the right jury. A jury made of people like my wife, who will glaze over and say “sure honey” when I start rambling about NBA conspiracies.
That kind of proof. So wrap your heads in tinfoil and join me on this journey of discovery.
It all started when Al Horford opted out of his contract. The immediate reporting was that Horford would negotiate a new deal with the 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
But then, just 9 hours later, Horford and the Celtics were suddenly unable to agree on a number and Horford was going to enter free agency.
Boston and Al Horford had discussed contract scenarios, but the gulf is too great for sides to believe they can close on a new deal now, league sources tell ESPN. Horford is prepared to enter the free agency to find a three or four year deal elsewhere.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 18, 2019
What happened in the meantime? What could have changed Horford’s mind? What happened right in the middle of those negotiations? I’m glad you asked.
Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes is declining his $25.1M player option and becoming an unrestricted free agent, his agent, Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports, tells ESPN. Barnes, 27, and Kings are open to exploring a new deal together this summer, sources said.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 18, 2019
Sacramento convinced Harrison Barnes to opt our and get a new deal. That added cap space would be enough for the Kings to up their offer to Al Horford. And then, as if to confirm these suspicions, enter Marc Stein:
Numerous teams and agents believe Al Horford has a four-year offer awaiting him in free agency worth an estimated $112 million. Sources with knowledge of the Mavericks’ thinking continue to insist that such a deal will NOT be coming from Dallas. Free agency starts in eight days— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 21, 2019
Now, you may be thinking “slow down Greg. This is crazy. There could be any number of teams interested in a player like Horford.” And you’re right. But at that kind of money there are only a few potential suitors, and Stein’s reporting eliminated the Pelicans.
Sad news, @BillSimmons. I've been strongly advised, in the wake of our pod, that New Orleans is NOT the stealth suitor in the Al Horford Sweepstakes. Our search for Horford's destination continues ...— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 26, 2019
Now, does this constitute proof? Perhaps not. It’s missing something. We need something to actually connect the Kings to Horford.
In addition to teams like the Dallas Mavericksand New Orleans Pelicans, who instantly emerged as possible landing spots, league sources say there are a few surprise bidders who are trying to land the veteran big man. These include the Sacramento Kings and Philadelphia 76ers.
The Kings are interested in adding a center this offseason, and there’s space for them to do it even with re-signing Harrison Barnes. It would require them to move on from Willie Cauley-Stein, who wants that anyway, as his agent has asked the Kings to let him go.
They’d potentially have the room to make an aggressive offer to Horford, but they have a number of the top centers on their list, sources said. In addition to Horford, the Kings could chase Brook Lopez and Nikola Vucevic. Lopez played for coach Luke Walton with the Lakers.
There you have it. Proof.
Welcome to the Kings, Al!