Report: Horford now expected to leave Celtics in free agency

NBA.com Global on Jun 19, 2019 04:38 PM
Report: Horford now expected to leave Celtics in free agency
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 30: Al Horford #42 of the Boston Celtics honors the National Anthem before the game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 30, 2018 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBA.com staff report

Another one of the Boston Celtics' top in-house free agents appears set to not opt into his deal, and is reportedly ready to move on from Boston.

Though it was reported earlier Tuesday (Wednesday, PHl time) that Horford was expected to decline his $30.1 million player option for 2019-20, it was tinged toward a potential return. Boston Herald sports reporter Steve Bulpett broke news that contract talks had apparently shifted toward an exit.

Less than a week ago, Celtics star guard Kyrie Irving decided to not opt into his deal for next season. That leaves the Celtics reportedly preparing for a nightmare scenario in which both Horford and Irving walk in free agency, with nothing to show for their recent run of high-profile asset acquisition.

Wojnarowski previously reported Horford and the Celtics had interest in working toward a new deal in July, one that would help Boston's salary cap flexibility. Team president Danny Ainge said in early June that he was hoping to discuss restructuring the All-Star big man's contract, a move he called a priority this summer.

A five-time All-Star, Horford averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.3 blocks per game last season for the Celtics, appearing and starting in 68 games. Overall, the former No. 3 pick in the 2007 draft has averaged 14.1 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 3.2 apg and 1.2 bpg in his career.

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