It has been almost a year since the Orlando Magic made an impressive offer to Atlanta Hawks free agent power forward Paul Millsap, and it is easy to forget that Millsap seemed to be quite close to accepting a deal that would land him in central Florida. Fast forward to 2016 and the Hawks have yet another big-time free agent on the market in the form of Al Horford.
Could the Magic be trying to pry another high-profile talent away from Georgia? Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel believes it's possible and he isn't alone. Here is what Robbins wrote this week:
Hawks big man Al Horford could be a possibility for the Magic.
If the Magic were to sign Horford, he’d instantly become the team’s most accomplished player. He’s a four-time All-Star, an unselfish player and an efficient player. The Magic could plug him in at power forward next to center Nikola Vucevic. As a former Florida Gator, perhaps Horford would be intrigued by returning to the Sunshine State.
Aside from the part about Horford playing his "natural position" of power forward (insert laughter here), this isn't a crazy thought, as Orlando would almost certainly throw a four-year max contract in Horford's direction on July 1. In the same piece from Robbins, he spoke with Magic CEO Alex Martins, who was not shy about indicating that this is a big summer in Orlando's trajectory when it comes to adding big-time veterans:
"And we always believed that this summer and next summer were going to be the two summers of free agency for us that we needed to focus on after developing our young guys."
Obviously, Horford would have to share interest on his end in order to make Orlando's plan a reality, and the Magic have been tied (at least via rumor) to other free agents, including Chandler Parsons, Joakim Noah or even Dwight Howard. The Hawks do have the biggest chip in the negotiation process in that they can offer Horford the most money and, while this may be subjective, Atlanta would also provide the better theoretical chance to win for a player that is reaching the back-half of his prime.
The Magic won't be the only team with the ammunition and willingness to sign Al Horford to a big-time deal, but Orlando does have more flexibility than most and because he played college basketball in nearby Gainesville, the rumor mill will churn. Stay tuned.