Since the 2019-20 NBA season started, rumors have been continuously swirling around veteran center Al Horford and his future with the Philadelphia 76ers. With his failure to live up to expectations from the massive contract he signed last summer and inability to co-exist with Joel Embiid in their frontcourt, most people believe the Sixers will try to move Horford in the 2020 offseason. Despite the $81 million deal he’s owed over the next three years, Horford is still expected to receive strong interest from teams that are in dire need of a frontcourt boost this fall.
One of the teams who could explore the possibility of trading for Horford is the Houston Rockets. According to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, the Rockets and the Sixers could engage a trade deal that would send Horford to Houston in exchange for veteran sharpshooter Eric Gordon. If the trade becomes a reality, Buckley believes it would help both teams in filling up their needs to improve their roster.
“Horford could help Houston get bigger without sacrificing spacing (career 36.4 percent from distance). He could also diversify the Rockets’ offensive menu by teaming with Westbrook and Harden in pick-and-choose (roll, pop or slip) plays. The good version of Gordon would give Philadelphia more shooting and another shot-creator. And if the deal doesn’t work, the two sides just switched out salaries they aren’t keen on paying.”
The proposed scenario would indeed make a lot of sense for the Rockets and the Sixers. Though it wouldn’t give them salary cap flexibility, it would allow them to become a more competitive team in their respective conferences next year. The potential arrival of Horford in Houston would immediately address their need for a starting-caliber center.
Horford may have failed to make himself fit alongside Embiid and Ben Simmons in Philadelphia, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing would happen once he joins forces with James Harden and Russell Westbrook in Houston. Horford would give the Rockets a defensive-minded big man who is capable of knocking down shots from beyond the arc. Having a floor-spacing center like him would be beneficial for Harden and Westbrook as it would make it easier for them to penetrate the basket or kick the ball out when they are trapped by the opposing team’s defense.
Meanwhile, for the Sixers, Gordon would provide them the much-need shooting around their young superstar duo. Gordon may already be in his early 30s, but he remains a legitimate option from the three-point range. In Philadelphia, Gordon could stay with his role as a sixth man or serve as the Sixers’ starting shooting guard next season.