Al Horford will not exercise option and will become a free agent

He and the Celtics could still negotiate a new deal.

Al Horford Boston Celtics NBA
Al Horford, 33, has made it clear he would like to contend for a title. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Al Horford will not exercise the $30.1 million option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent, a league source confirmed. The move is not a surprise, and Horford and the Celtics both are interested in working toward a new deal.

Horford could sign a longer-term deal with Boston, he can simply become a free agent and sign with another team, or the Celtics can orchestrate a sign-and-trade if Horford hopes to join a team that does not have salary cap space.

Horford is 33 and has made it clear he would like to contend for a title. In three years in Boston, he has reached the conference finals twice and the semifinals once. If he knows that Kyrie Irving is leaving but he decides to stay anyway, that may not be an indication that he thinks Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are ready to lead the Celtics to a championship.


But he seems happy here. He has a great relationship with coach Brad Stevens, he appreciates the culture, and he and his wife have three young children and might not have great interest in uprooting everything just in hopes of possibly getting closer to a championship.