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

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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.

Tyronn Lue says Celtics harder to defend than Warriors: 'They're running all kinds of s---'

Tyronn Lue says Celtics harder to defend than Warriors: 'They're running all kinds of s---'

The Golden State Warriors are the least of Tyronn Lue's worries, Cleveland Cavaliers coach explained Tuesday.

Even though Lue and the Cavs are up 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals, he is apparently overwhelmed with the Boston Celtics to the point where he isn't even thinking about Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the 67-win Warriors.

"We're just focused on Boston," Lue said of the Warriors following the Cavs' Game 4 win, via ESPN.com. "The stuff they're running, it's harder to defend than Golden State's [offense] for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it's a totally different thing."

No, seriously.

"Like, they hit the post, Golden State runs splits and all that stuff, but these guys are running all kinds of s---," Lue said of Boston coach Brad Stevens' schemes. "I'll be like, 'F---.' They're running all kinds of s---, man. And Brad's got them moving and cutting and playing with pace, and everybody is a threat. It's tough, you know, it's tough."

Without Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics finished Game 4 with four players who had 15 points or more. They also had six players who scored double digits in Boston's Game 3 win. Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk, Jae Crowder and Al Horford have made heavy offensive contributions. And they not just scoring. The Celtics are working hard off the ball by setting screens and cutting to the hoop to pressure the Cavaliers defense.

The Celtics may not have the Warriors' star power -- but Stevens and Boston are still managing to leave Lue in a state of clear befuddlement after a win.

LeBron James praised Stevens more directly when discussing how the Celtics "run different things" after losing Thomas to injury.

"So they had to kind of reshape, and that’s the beauty of having Brad Stevens as your coach," James told reporters. "You’re able to reshape what you do offensively and still be in a good rhythm. It’s been challenging for us to kind of — plays out of time-out, kind of been killing us on ATOs and keeping us off balance, but in the second half we kind of got a little bit of rhythm, and think we’ll be better in Game 5."