With one tweet Saturday night, Al Horford announced his intention to sign with the Boston Celtics — and pushed the titanic haul for Florida Gators in the NBA to more than $400 million in guaranteed contracts in the league's most lucrative free agency period ever.
Celtic Pride!!!!!!— Al Horford (@Al_Horford) July 2, 2016
Horford was an unrestricted free agent who had played out two deals with the Atlanta Hawks, and was in line to receive one of the richest contracts in NBA history if he signed a five-year pact. So him agreeing to a four-year, $113 million contract was actually sort of settling, though it's still a max deal, and a player option for that fourth year gives him plenty of flexibility.
In fact, Horford is now set to receive less total money, though a higher annual average, than Bradley Beal. Beal's deal is for five years and (at least) $128 million, and will keep him in Washington for the forseeable future, where he and John Wall can try to regain the form that made them the "House of Guards," prior to a slump and a rash of injuries for Beal in 2015-16.
Beal and Horford aren't the only Gators with a max deal, though, as Chandler Parsons is headed to his third NBA team on his third surprisingly massive contract. Parsons has a four-year, $94 million deal with the Grizzlies, and that will station him with his third NBA team ... and prevent him, once again, from leaving the Southwest Division.
The one agreed-upon big-money deal for a Gator that wasn't the max will go to Joakim Noah, who leaves the Bulls and Chicago for the Knicks and his hometown of New York City. Noah's not taking pauper's wages, at a hefty four years and $72 million, but it's less than the reported max deal the Wizards seemed keen to offer him.
Tally all of those numbers, and just those four Gators alone are due a staggering $407 million over the next five seasons. Remove the average value of Beal's contract ($25.6 million) for his 2020-21 year, and those four Florida alumni will combine to make an average of $95.3 million over the next four years of their lives.
If Beal's deal is actually for $130 million, as was reported by ESPN, you can make those big numbers $409 million and $95.8 million per year.
Those won't be the only deals signed by Gators, with former Warrior Marreese Speights and former Celtic David Lee still likely to find homes somewhere and Matt Bonner and Udonis Haslem likely choosing between veteran's minimums to stay with their longtime teams in San Antonio and Miami, respectively.
But just those four deals mean that Florida Gators are currently reaping more than a fifth of the NBA's record-breaking more than $1.8 billion in contracts drawn up during this period. And even if that percentage will shift downward, that's still a colossal share of a growing pie.
So kudos to Florida for celebrating it with Pusha T.