Report: Rockets to target Al Horford as Dwight Howard’s replacement

Al Horford will play in Game 2 against the Brooklyn Nets.

Still without a head coach, the Houston Rockets are soon going to have to transition to free agency and the draft.

Coming off a disappointing 41-41 season that saw them eliminated from the playoffs in the first round, the Rockets have a rather interesting summer ahead of them.

Star center Dwight Howard will likely opt out of his contract, leaving Houston with the necessary ammo to find upgrades around James Harden.

One player Houston is said to be interested in, Atlanta Hawks big man Al Horford, is reportedly going to be the team’s top priority when free agency gets going this summer.

“A person familiar with the organization told Sporting News that landing Hawks star Al Horford is the Rockets’ top-line goal in free agency, and Ryan Anderson also would be a possibility,” Sean Deveney reported.

Horford, the third overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, has earned an All-Star appearance in each of the past two years. He’s coming off a 2015-16 campaign that saw him average 15.2 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting at a 51 percent clip from the field.

It’s not surprising that the Rockets would target a replacement for Howard, who is as good as gone from Houston.

It’s also not surprising that the team is interested in a player with a much more sound offensive game. As evidenced by his 34 percent mark from three-point range this past season, Horford can extend his game to the perimeter.

That’s something the team might very well be looking for as it relates to a secondary option behind Harden.

Horford is expected to receive a max deal on the open market this summer. That’s only magnified by the increased salary cap around the Association.