Source: C's among favorites to acquire Horford if available

horford-gallery.jpg

Source: C's among favorites to acquire Horford if available

SALT LAKE CITY – The Atlanta Hawks have not made a decision on whether they will trade Al Horford but a league source tells CSNNE.com that the Boston Celtics have emerged as one of the favorites to land him if the Hawks decide to part ways with the veteran forward.

Horford, a four-time All-Star, is in the final year of a five-year, $60 million deal that pays him $12 million for this final season.

That means any team acquiring him via trade runs the risk of him being an end-of-the-season rental player with Horford set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Boston would still take that risk, but there would most likely be some reassurances before the deal is consummated that the 29-year-old Horford (He'll be 30 in June) would be strongly considering re-signing with the Celtics for what would most likely be a near-max contract.

Horford was in Toronto last weekend as a last-minute All-Star replacement for the Eastern Conference All-Star team.

I asked him about his status as well as the trade rumors he has been linked to recently.

“For me, I ask for guidance but at the end of the day I understand the business of everything,” Horford said at the time. “I know how everything works. For me, I need to stay diligent, keep doing what I do and whatever happens, happens.”

The Hawks love the talent and leadership that Horford brings, but the team has sputtered recently and appears in need of a shake-up. And while a number of Atlanta player's names have surfaced as potentially being on the move, Horford's name has been relatively constant in such conversations.

And knowing that he will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, the Hawks run the risk of keeping him through the rest of the season and losing him without any form of compensation.

By trading him prior to Thursday’s 3 p.m. EST trade deadline, Atlanta would assure themselves of getting something prior to his departure.

Thomsen: 'Andre Drummond is the dark horse' in Celtics trade rumors

Thomsen: 'Andre Drummond is the dark horse' in Celtics trade rumors

Ian Thomsen adds his thoughts on potential Celtics trade rumors and who he believes the C's need to target before the trade deadline.

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Zach Lowe’s most recent podcast is worth a listen, as it features plenty of talk about what the Celtics may or may not due ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. 

Lowe brought up the possibility of the Celtics top-1 or top-2-protecting Brooklyn’s first-round pick and including it in a deal for Butler. He surmises that the inclusion of the Brooklyn pick -- protected or not -- might not come until the final minutes. 

“Look, if Butler gets traded or if Paul George gets traded, that’s when it’s going to happen,” Marc Stein responded. “It’s going to happen in the last five to 10 minutes, so Boston has to make a decision, and let's see if they’re doing the math that they’ve had these assets for a while and it is time to do something bold and the time is now. Really, I think Boston will do it. The question is what will Chicago or Indiana do? And those are two hard reads.” 

Stein spoke to the Celtics’ lack of activity at certain points, but he said that if the C’s do fail to come away with a star player Thursday, it won’t be for lack of aggressiveness. 

MORE TRADE TALK

“I think the Celtics are taking criticism for waiting, and they’ve had all these assets they haven’t moved yet, but I think the record shows that Danny Ainge in general, in total, is very aggressive, not afraid to roll the dice, not afraid to make the aggressive move,” Stein said. “So I have less doubt about Boston saying, ‘Let’s just do it.’ I have far more questions about what Chicago and/or Indiana would do.” 

Lowe said that he imagines the Bulls would “think about” trading the C's Butler if Boston threw in the Nets’ pick unprotected, but added that Chicago would demand to also take two players out of Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. 

“I think that will be the offer and they’ll get there and Chicago will either have a moment where they say, ‘We walk away or we’ll do it.’ And Boston’s not going to throw in the other Nets pick,” Lowe said. “That’s just not going to happen.”

Rating the aforementioned foursome in terms of trade value, Lowe said that Crowder is the best piece because of his “ridiculously good” contract, followed by Brown, Smart and Bradley. 

Lowe added that he considers Bradley one of the “sneaky interesting pieces at this trade deadline” because his contract is up after next season, which is the same time that Isaiah Thomas’ contract expires. Lowe says that given the uncertainty of his future in Boston, he wouldn’t be overly surprised if Bradley is moved at the deadline.