After a somewhat slow start to free agency for the Sixers, just after 9 pm, General Manager Elton Brand made a splash by inking former Celtics big man, Al Horford.
According to ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Horford will sign a 4 year, $109 million dollar contract with the Sixers. The deal will include $97 million dollars guaranteed, and the remaining $12 million dollars will be paid out if the Sixers are to win a championship.
Over the course of the week, rumors around Horford swirled. He was linked to many teams throughout the league, but all along the Sixers were consistent pursuers of the veteran big man. As free agency opened, the Celtics began seeking a three-team sign and trade with the Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets. The idea was to clear enough cap space in the trade to be able to bring back Horford.
Elton Brand had different plans.
Horford comes to the Sixers as an experienced veteran. He is a five-time All-Star over his 11 year NBA career with the Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics. Over that span, he has averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds per game.
Horford is likely to be a starter this season, allowing the Sixers to feature a starting lineup of 4 players over 6’9”. Throughout his time with the Celtics, Horford has at times looked like Joel Embiid’s kryptonite. He will surely bring this strong defense to the Sixers and along with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, the Sixers frontcourt should be absolutely dominating.
In addition to his starting role, Horford will be a nice piece to stagger with Embiid. Look for Coach Brett Brown to play both Embiid and Horford together, but also use Horford heavily when Embiid is off the floor. Over Embiid’s three year playing career, he has never played more than 64 games in a season. And with this trend likely to continue due to scheduled rest and possible minor injuries, Horford will be able to provide the Sixers with insurance for games Embiid is not able to play. Being able to have an All-Star center in the game at all times will be a real advantage for the Sixers this upcoming season.
One of Horford’s biggest weapons will be his three-point shooting. Horford has shot 37% from three-point range for his career and this style of play will fit beautifully with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Horford’s ability to stretch the floor will enable a clear lane for Simmons to attack the rim and Joel Embiid to work down low.
Finally, Horford’s experience and veteran leadership will be extremely valuable. After losing JJ Redick to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Sixers lost their most experienced NBA player. Now, Redick’s leadership role can easily be filled with someone who has had even more success. The Sixers core is still quite young and being able to add a veteran, who has played in big games, is certainly a plus for the youthful Sixers. He will hold a respected voice in the locker room and should provide wise guidance to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
Although the Sixers have not exactly run it back, Brand has certainly revamped this roster and Sixers fans should be seriously excited about what is to come this fall.
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