Signing Al Horford just made 76ers team to beat in Eastern Conference

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Al Horford and the Philadelphia 76ers agreed to a four-year, $109 million deal on the first day of free agency.

Over the last couple of weeks, the Philadelphia 76ers were considered a potential landing spot for Al Horford after it became clear that things were quickly going south between the star center and the Boston Celtics.

No one needs to explain to Sixers fans just how much of a dominating center Joel Embiid has been over the years, but believe it or not, Horford was always the one player who seemed to give the Philadelphia star the most trouble.

So when the rumors were beginning to heat up over the possibility of the Sixers being a potential landing spot for Horford, it was difficult not to think about the potential of the former Florida star teaming up with Embiid.

Now, it looks like Sixers fans no longer have to wonder about the possibility since Horford has officially agreed to join the team on a four-year deal.

On a night where there were plenty of mixed emotions surrounding the fan base as a result of re-signing Tobias Harris along with J.J. Redick leaving for the New Orleans Pelicans, the Horford news made it all seem worth the wait.

Coincidentally, the announcement of Horford’s deal came shortly after it was discovered that Philadelphia would be acquiring Josh Richardson from the Miami Heat as part of a sign-and-trade deal with Jimmy Butler.

All of a sudden, the potential starting lineup for the Sixers heading into the 2018-19 season could look a little something like below.

Basketball fans can say whatever they want about the concerns involving Horford since paying a 33-year-old that much money sounds ridiculous, but also the veteran center could be a key missing piece for the Sixers in the Eastern Conference.

From a defensive perspective, Horford’s presence along with Embiid seems like it will cause all sorts of problems for opponents, which Philadelphia desperately needs.

But most importantly, watching the Sixers come up short the way they again in the playoffs made it clear this team still needed some extra help in order to compete with the best in the Eastern Conference, whether it was the Toronto Raptors or Milwaukee Bucks.

By making a key addition in Horford on top of the other moves from Sunday, does Philadelphia deserve the honors of being the team to beat in the Eastern Conference at the moment since Kawhi Leonard’s status is still uncertain?

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It’s tough to say since Leonard returning to the Raptors would obviously make them tough to pick against, but just thinking at the immediate impact Horford is going to have makes a pretty strong case for the Sixers.