A veteran Boston Celtics trade piece the front office can offer the Portland Trail Blazers in a Jrue holiday trade, Al Horford, could offer the Rose City’s NBA franchise an ideal long-term benefit in the modern cap climate: cap relief. Blazers Edge’s Jeremy Brener explained how acquiring Horford could be a major positive if there were other pieces that’d be sent with Holiday to the Celtics in a hypothetical blockbuster.
“At 37 years old, Horford’s prime years are behind him,” Brener prefaced before saying, “He can bring playoff intensity to the roster and share the floor with Deandre Ayton, allowing Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups to go big. His age presents a question mark, but his contract will be expiring in 2024-25 and would allow management to rid themselves of $9.5 million in a year that already has them at $156 million – about $20 million above the existing salary cap.”
Acquiring Horford and giving him minutes signals that Portland plans on taking the 2023-24 season seriously and is aiming to surround Deandre Ayton, Anfernee Simons, and rookie Scoot Henderson enough with enough veteran leadership to make a playoff run. But acquiring him just to flip him later, like what they are doing with Holiday, signals a shift to rebuilding — and in reality, a lack of faith in the players left behind after the Lillard deal — for the Trail Blazers.
Boston Celtics unlikely to be the winners of the Jrue Holiday sweepstakes
Knowing what the Boston Celtics could offer the Trail Blazers is useful in the off-chance Brad Stevens has assurances from players who know they’ll be bought out by their current teams down the line; AKA tampering, which a team like the Cs doesn’t do, and instead has done to them.
Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie anyone?
Anyway, back to the present. Boston won’t be giving up the remaining members of a core that is less than two years removed from a Finals appearance. Losing Marcus Smart was a gut-punch enough for a team that had grown together, but unfortunately mostly failed together when the playoffs got to their latter rounds.
Losing Horford and Robert Williams III, all in the name of acquiring a player on an expiring deal, isn’t in the cards for a front office that has made sure not to overpay for anyone.