With the NBA trade deadline just hours away, Al Horford's name is heating up on the market. That Atlanta Hawks have been toying with the idea of dealing the center who is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season and command a max contract. The team is looking for a "wow" offer from opposing teams and the Boston Celtics are in the best position to make that happen.
According to CSNNE's A. Sherrod Blakely, the Boston Celtics are the favorites to land Horford because of their stash of draft picks and roster assets. Celtics team president Danny Ainge has been looking for a veteran big man to put on their roster and Horford certainly fits the bill.
The one thing that will hold this trade back is whether or not Boston is willing to give up their top draft pick which was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets in the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reported that the Celtics have no interest in dealing that top pick which could mean the Hawks are not planning on dealing Horford without it. The Celtics would be wise to hold on to the pick especially if they have to give it up for someone like Horford who could depart in free agency. Even with Horford, the Celtics are not yet true playoff contenders. They can make a run, but it is hard to see the team beating someone like Cleveland. Then Horford departs in free agency and the Celtics have lost their first-round pick for nothing in return.
Atlanta can still make moves if they do not deal Horford. Plenty of teams are checking in on the availability of certain stars. Ian Begley of ESPN reported the Knicks were still hoping they had a package that would entice the Hawks to give up Jeff Teague. According to Keith Pompey of the Philly Inquirer, the Sixers are another team checking in on Teague and Dennis Schroder. While the Sixers have draft picks to offer, Pompey reports the team would also have to give up either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor and the team is not ready for that commitment.
The Hawks want top draft picks and an established big man to replace the injured Tiago Splitter who is done for the year. If another team cannot offer that then they will stay put at the deadline.