2019 NBA free agency: 5 potential landing spots for Al Horford

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images /

3. Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers are familiar with Al Horford, as they were just swept by him and the Celtics this past postseason. While Horford wasn’t the sole reason Boston was able to dominate Indiana, he certainly was the reason the Pacers struggled against the team in green.

Indiana actually has two uncertain offseasons — this one and the next.

This summer, the Pacers have to decide if they want to bring back two of their starters in Bojan Bogdanovic and Thaddeus Young. Bogdanovic is coming off his best season in the NBA at age 30, having averaged 18.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game on .497/.425/.807 shooting spits.

With no in-house option to potentially replace a fraction of that kind of production outside of Victor Oladipo (who’s coming off a ruptured quad tendon), the Pacers are likely set to do whatever they can to retain the veteran forward.

Young has been with Indiana the past two seasons and has been a steadying presence in the starting lineup, a la Al Horford. Young has been a bit inconsistent from 3 and has been unplayable at times as a result.

Next summer, the Pacers will have to decide if they want to re-sign Domantas Sabonis long-term, which would likely indicate they believe that a Sabonis-Myles Turner frontcourt can co-exist; something that most statistical models don’t believe is the case.

Sabonis has averaged 12.9 points per game primarily off the bench for Indiana, only making 24 starts for the team the past two seasons. He’s undoubtedly a talented player (like his dad, Hall-of-Famer Arvydas Sabonis), but his small sample size raises questions about receiving a larger role long-term. Regardless, the Pacers are set to have both big men on their roster next season, something Jackie McMullan of ESPN also keyed in on.

Enter Al Horford.

Horford is a better 3-point shooter than Young, both career-wise and over the past two seasons. If the Pacers opt to re-sign Bogdanovic and bring in Horford, they’re looking at a starting unit that would include Oladipo, Bogdanovic, Horford and Turner.

If the Pacers were able to somehow bring in D’Angelo Russell to pair with Oladipo, suddenly Indiana has a starting five that can compete with the East’s elite. Remember, the Pacers took the LeBron-led Cleveland Cavaliers team to seven games not long ago. Even with just Horford, those four players make a strong, balanced unit.