Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career at the end of the 2015-16 season. According to the latest NBA rumors, many teams will be pursuing Horford this summer and the Orlando Magic are one of them.
The Hawks were swept again by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs and there are a lot of questions heading into the offseason. They still can’t get over the hump and they could potentially lose one of their best players.
Horford was drafted by Atlanta in 2008 and the team has made the playoffs every year since his rookie season. He is the unquestioned leader of the Hawks but many teams are looking to sign him due to his defense, jump shot and leadership.
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According to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, the Magic will potentially have $46 million in salary cap this summer. Robbins noted that Horford is a better fit in Orlando than former player Dwight Howard, who expressed his interest in going back to Florida.
The Magic are prepared to hand out contracts in free agency to improve their team and get back to the playoffs. They have a lottery pick in this year’s draft and add to their roster full of young players.
Orlando has a good core consisting of Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Mario Hezonja. The team only needs a veteran presence like Horford who can provide postseason experience.
“The one thing that virtually none of them has is playoff experience, and you just don’t wake up one morning and understand what it takes to get to the playoffs. People have to help you through that, and it’s going to be a coach like Frank Vogel, and it’s going to be experienced veterans that we would be able to obtain in free agency,” Magic CEO Alex Martins told the Sentinel.
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However, Horford expressed his love for the city of Atlanta and stay as a Hawk. Nonetheless, the Magic has a chance of convincing him to play in Orlando because of the money, a new head coach, a core of young players and a homecoming since he played college at the University of Florida.
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