With free agents vanishing from the radar screen at a steady clip, the Celtics appear poised to make an aggressive run at one of the premier names on the market — Hawks center Al Horford.

Al Horford

Al Horford

With free agents vanishing from the radar screen at a steady clip, the Celtics appear poised to make an aggressive run at one of the premier names on the market — Hawks center Al Horford.

According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, the Celtics plan to offer Horford a max contract on Friday night. The four-year, $113 million deal would give the Celtics one of the best defensive big men in the game, while also positioning them to make a run at Horford’s good friend, free agent prize Kevin Durant, either this offseason or next.

Horford is considered a winning player whose contributions exceed what appears on a standard stat sheet. He averaged 15.2 points and 7.3 rebounds last year while leading the Hawks to the second round of the playoffs, where they were swept by LeBron James and the eventual champion Cavaliers. Before that, he helped the Hawks oust the Celtics in six games from the first round.

Horford, who just turned 30, is a four-time All-Star. The Hawks selected him third overall in the 2007 draft. According to the Herald, the Celtics want Horford whether or not they can sign Durant, and with Dwight Howard inking a three-year deal in Atlanta, Horford should end up with a new home next season.

It appears the Celtics are intent on making that home Boston.

UPDATE: And just to make things more interesting, now there’s this news . . .

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

This will probably come as a relief to plenty of Celtics fans, but Yahoo is reporting that Dwight Howard has signed a three-year, $70 million contract with his hometown Atlanta Hawks.

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard

This will probably come as a relief to plenty of Celtics fans, but Yahoo is reporting that Dwight Howard has signed a three-year, $70 million contract with his hometown Atlanta Hawks.

Howard had been expected to meet with the Celtics in the coming days, but he canceled all of his remaining visits after striking a deal with the Hawks.

Howard, 30, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft out of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy by the Magic. He has averaged 17.8 points and 12.7 rebounds for his career, and has also played with the Lakers and Rockets.

He reached the Finals in 2009 by knocking out the defending champion Celtics in the second round after the C’s had taken a 3-2 series lead. He averaged 16.4 points and 17.1 rebounds in that series before losing in the Finals to the Lakers.

Howard had been linked to the Celtics this offseason, but his back-to-the-basket game didn’t necessarily fit Brad Stevens’ system. The C’s are expected to make a hard push for Hawks big man Al Horford, who becomes expendable with Howard now in the fold.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard

This will probably come as a relief to plenty of Celtics fans, but Yahoo is reporting that Dwight Howard has signed a three-year, $70 million contract with his hometown Atlanta Hawks.

Howard had been expected to meet with the Celtics in the coming days, but he canceled all of his remaining visits after striking a deal with the Hawks.

Howard, 30, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft out of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy by the Magic. He has averaged 17.8 points and 12.7 rebounds for his career, and has also played with the Lakers and Rockets.

He reached the Finals in 2009 by knocking out the defending champion Celtics in the second round after the C’s had taken a 3-2 series lead. He averaged 16.4 points and 17.1 rebounds in that series before losing in the Finals to the Lakers.

Howard had been linked to the Celtics this offseason, but his back-to-the-basket game didn’t necessarily fit Brad Stevens’ system. The C’s are expected to make a hard push for Hawks big man Al Horford, who becomes expendable with Howard now in the fold.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Say goodbye to Evan Turner.

One of the symbols of the resurgent Celtics under head coach Brad Stevens, Turner signed a four-year, $70 million deal with the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday before taking to social media to thank the Celtics and their fans for two transformative years.

Say goodbye to Evan Turner.

One of the symbols of the resurgent Celtics under head coach Brad Stevens, Turner signed a four-year, $70 million deal with the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday before taking to social media to thank the Celtics and their fans for two transformative years.

Turner told the Boston Globe that the Blazers told him to sit tight while they negotiated with forward Chandler Parsons, who ended up signing with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Blazers immediately turned their attention to Turner, telling him that he’d be a starter on a team that went 44-38 and won a round in the playoffs before being dispatched by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semis.

Turner, 27, averaged 10.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists last season. He signed with the Celtics as a free agent before the 2014-15 season, and over the next two years remade himself from bust of a No. 2 overall pick into a solid jack-of-all-trades on a playoff team.

“It’s tough to leave,” Turner told the Globe. “I liked Boston a lot, bro. The organization, and it’s just a sports city and the city is super nice. If you put money and everything aside, I would play in Boston every single day of the week. Seeing all those Hall of Famers come back and everything, that’s a real franchise.

“I was just having fun playing again. When I played in Philly, it was pure hell. But to go to Boston and rock out and play was crazy. And to play in Portland is going to be fun, too.”

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

Say goodbye to Evan Turner.

One of the symbols of the resurgent Celtics under head coach Brad Stevens, Turner signed a four-year, $70 million deal with the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday before taking to social media to thank the Celtics and their fans for two transformative years.

Turner told the Boston Globe that the Blazers told him to sit tight while they negotiated with forward Chandler Parsons, who ended up signing with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Blazers immediately turned their attention to Turner, telling him that he’d be a starter on a team that went 44-38 and won a round in the playoffs before being dispatched by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semis.

Turner, 27, averaged 10.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists last season. He signed with the Celtics as a free agent before the 2014-15 season, and over the next two years remade himself from bust of a No. 2 overall pick into a solid jack-of-all-trades on a playoff team.

“It’s tough to leave,” Turner told the Globe. “I liked Boston a lot, bro. The organization, and it’s just a sports city and the city is super nice. If you put money and everything aside, I would play in Boston every single day of the week. Seeing all those Hall of Famers come back and everything, that’s a real franchise.

“I was just having fun playing again. When I played in Philly, it was pure hell. But to go to Boston and rock out and play was crazy. And to play in Portland is going to be fun, too.”

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

It won’t just be Isiah Thomas helping the Celtics recruit free agents this weekend, as Jae Crowder reportedly will as well.

According to Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe, Crowder will be present at the meetings with both Kevin Durant and Al Horford.

The meeting with Horford is reportedly Friday night, while the meeting with Durant is reportedly on Saturday.

It won’t just be Isiah Thomas helping the Celtics recruit free agents this weekend, as Jae Crowder reportedly will as well.

According to Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe, Crowder will be present at the meetings with both Kevin Durant and Al Horford.

The meeting with Horford is reportedly Friday night, while the meeting with Durant is reportedly on Saturday.

Blog Author: 
WEEI