With rumors swirling that the Atlanta Hawks could be reluctant to offer Al Horford a five-year contract, the heat is only increasing when it comes to potential suitors to snatch away the All-Star big man. Teams like the Washington Wizards, Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics have been rumored to be involved, but for many in NBA circles, the real threats for Horford's services would appear to be coming from the Western Conference.
Enter the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN brings word that the Thunder are attempting to make room for a potential run at Horford and, if they can pull that off independent of Kevin Durant's decision, the team would have space for both players.
As they prepare to make their pitch to Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder have been making calls around the league looking to clear a massive amount of salary-cap space in a move rival executives believe is an effort to go after free agent Al Horford in addition to Durant, multiple sources told ESPN.
Aside from the possibility of joining a ready-made NBA championship contender, Horford would also be weighing the option to play for his college coach in Billy Donovan. Windhorst notes that there are significant salary cap gymnastics to execute in order to make Horford fit, but the Thunder could be able to move Enes Kanter and his once-troublesome salary in this "new world" of salary cap space throughout the league.
The Golden State Warriors have also been rumored to be interested in Horford, with the San Antonio Spurs theoretically capable of adding Horford in a similar way to Durant (or Mike Conley) should they strike out on that front. While Atlanta can still offer the most money available, even on a four-year contract, the opportunity to join a no-doubt contender could be compelling for the now 30-year-old, and in Oklahoma City, the carrot of Billy Donovan could be a real factor.