When Al Horford declined his $30.1 million contract Tuesday, all signs were pointing to him agreeing to a three-year contract to stay in Boston.
Now, it seems Horford will take his talents elsewhere once free agency begins on June 30.
Shams Charania also reported that the Celtics are preparing for a strong scenario that both Horford and Irving will leave as free agents, while Adrian Wojnarowski added that Horford and the Celtics discussed a new deal, but it appeared the sides were too far apart in negotiations to agree on a contract.
According to a story from Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, Horford and the Celtics were engaged in negotiations on a three-year contract with at a lower salary figure than the $30.1 million option Horford declined, but the talks came to an abrupt end.
And while it’s not known yet how precisely how Horford felt about the Celtics’ prospects moving forward as he seeks to win a championship in this latter stage of his career, it seems almost certain that he is aware another club is willing to go to a fourth year with him.
This therefore appears to simply be a move for a better chance at a championship with a club willing to pay him more on a longer term contract.
Marc Stein of the New York Times reports that the belief around the league is that a four-year, $100 million-plus contract is awaiting Horford, who turned 33 June 3, when free agency opens June 30 at 6 p.m.
All hope may not be lost, however. According to Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe, the Celtics were aware of Horford's interest to sign elsewhere, but are still hopeful they can agree to a contract before it's too late. He includes that few within the Celtics organization know if the time to get a deal done has passed.
Without Horford and Irving on the roster, the Celtics could find themselves with more than $20 million in cap space, though it is unclear whether they plan to use that on premiere free agents.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.