5. Dallas Mavericks
According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, the Dallas Mavericks are the favorites to land Al Horford. O’Connor is one of the league’s more reputable sources, but the fit simultaneously does and doesn’t make sense.
Last season, the Mavs opened with a starting lineup of Dennis Smith Jr., Luka Doncic, Wesley Matthews, Dorian Finney-Smith and DeAndre Jordan. They would finish the season with a starting lineup of Jalen Brunson, Devin Harris, Justin Jackson, Dwight Powell and Dirk Nowitzki.
The primary reason is they made two notable in season trades, shipping out DSJ, Matthews and Jordan in exchange for Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Kristaps Porzingis, as well as sending Harrison Barnes to Sacramento for Zach Randolph and Justin Jackson. Both moves were unexpected, but now Dallas has a big offseason ahead.
With Dirk now retired, the Mavericks seemed like they were going in on having Porzingis be the face of the franchise with Luka Doncic. With Doncic on his rookie contract the next few seasons, the Mavericks are likely to offer a big extension to the Latvian big man, but the fit is a little puzzling with Dwight Powell already opting in to his player option for next season and the team already on the hook for $42 million to Lee, Hardaway and Powell.
In theory, Al Horford would be a nice fit next to Porzingis and Doncic. The Mavs would have three forwards on the court who can all space the floor, are sound defensively and can rebound the ball well. Porzingis and Horford in particular could interchange between the power forward and center spots on both sides of the floor, allowing head coach Rick Carlisle to experiment with small-ball lineups.