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Sixers sign Al Horford to 4-year deal

Philadelphia is really leaning into playing big

NBA: Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Following the sign-and-trade that sent Jimmy Butler to Miami for Josh Richardson, the Sixers had enough cap space to make one more major move in free agency. They then wasted no time in revealing that major move to be former Celtics big man Al Horford.

The deal is actually for less money than the initial tweet indicated, though, as $12 million of that $109M figure is tied to...wait for it...championships!

After a wild night, it looks like the Sixers will enter the 2019-20 season with a starting lineup of Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, Al Horford, and Joel Embiid. They are doubling down on the notion of playing big, something the Raptors said they really struggled with in the second-round series between the teams; the 6-foot-6 Richardson will be the shortest member of the starting lineup.

It will be interesting to see how the Horford-Embiid pairing works. Horford often played alongside Aron Baynes in Boston, but as he ages, how well will he be able to keep up with opposing power forwards? Even in a vacuum, that’s a lot of money to give someone who just turned 33. The last couple years of the deal could be rough, but the Sixers are most certainly in win-now mode.

While the issue of spacing will be scrutinized with this group, the new-look Sixers project to be a dominant defensive unit. Additionally, having Horford solves the issue of a backup center for Embiid, while enabling the team to start Al during the regular season when Joel needs a DNP-Rest game (and vice versa).

Fans can and will debate Harris/Butler vs. Harris/Horford/Richardson, but there’s no question that with the moves made tonight, the Sixers remain one of the more interesting teams in the league, and a force to be reckoned with in the East. We’ll have more analysis to come on a night that Sixers fans will discuss for many years to come.

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