Al Horford is reportedly not being shopped by the Atlanta Hawks anymore. Does this mean he will stay with the Atlanta Hawks for the foreseeable future?
Al Horford is coming off his fourth trip to the NBA All-Star Game, as a last-minute replacement for the Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh who was nursing a calf injury. Horford has spent all nine of his NBA seasons with the team that drafted him No. 3 overall in the 2007 NBA Draft: the Atlanta Hawks.
While Horford’s name has circulated as one of the more intriguing names being toss around the trade rumor mill, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, Horford “has not sought a trade or informed the Hawks he would not stay in Atlanta.” Deveney’s source also told him that Al Horford is now off the trading market before Thursday’s NBA Trade Deadline.
The Atlanta Hawks have a huge financial decision to make regarding Al Horford. While the Atlanta Hawks have Horford’s Bird Rights and can offer him both more money and that extra fifth year, is Atlanta willing to pay Horford a near maximum salary that escalates in owed money as he ages?
While the NBA Salary Cap is likely going to explode before Summer 2017 and the Hawks could have more financial flexibility than they do now, is Al Horford going to stand as a foundational piece that the Atlanta Hawks organization can build a championship contending team around?
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The thought behind potentially making him available at the 2016 NBA Trade Deadline was to essentially put out a feeler for the impending free agent’s value on the open market. Atlanta probably commanded a ridiculous return for 25+ games of Horford’s services on an expiring deal, but at least the club is doing its due diligence to see if they can get something instead of nothing should Horford end up leaving the Atlanta Hawks organization this summer in free agency.
Teams like the Boston Celtics, the Detroit Pistons, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Oklahoma City Thunder all have high interest in possibly acquiring Al Horford. There was even some gossip that Al Horford asked Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas what it was like to play for Brad Stevens in Boston at the 2016 NBA All-Star, where both players suited up for the Eastern Conference’s squad.
While there are no guarantees if the Atlanta Hawks and Al Horford can reach an agreement this summer when the All-Star center enters unrestricted free agency for the first time as a professional, the Atlanta Hawks faithful can feel a little easier about their team’s ability to orchestrate another deep playoff run.
From all accounts, it seems that Al Horford is off the trading block entering the 2016 NBA Trade Deadline and should remain in the starting lineup for the Atlanta Hawks for at least the rest of the 2015-16 NBA season and the 2016 Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Reaching a new deal for Horford to stay in Atlanta in 2016-17 and beyond is another question for another day. For now, Al Horford will remain an Atlanta Hawk.