This realization has prompted Atlanta to think long and hard about Horford, who is in the final year of a five-year, $60 million contract extension. The Hawks must decide whether to re-sign their big man to a hefty five-year deal, or try to move him now while they can get value. If the Hawks decide to test the market for Horford, numerous teams would potentially show interest. Sources inform ESPN that the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, and Magic have been the most aggressive in looking to acquire a veteran difference maker.
Horford would turn 35 in the final year of his contract, which would pay him $32.7 million. Sources say that while ownership has pledged to both spend and to entrust the Hawks' basketball minds to make basketball decisions, that figure along with the overall tab -- which would amount to one of the richest contracts in the NBA -- has the Hawks' brass a bit skittish.
The Hawks can put together a strong offer from a financial and familiarity standpoint, but are expected to listen to teams that inquire about Horford because they don’t want to risk losing him for nothing, league sources said. The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 18.
Horford, a three-time All-Star, is making $12 million in the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent this off-season. Atlanta can offer Horford a maximum five-year, $146 million contract, which Horford is seeking, a source told Yahoo Sports.
“The city itself is a great city,” Horford told Yahoo Sports. “People are great. This Hawks’ organization is moving in the right direction. With the new ownership, with the coach, I really feel good about the future of the Hawks.”
Horford could potentially land more off-court opportunities in much stronger Spanish-speaking NBA markets in Florida, New York, Texas or California. “Atlanta has the potential for a guy like myself to maximize [the business] part of it,” Horford told Yahoo Sports. “But obviously there are other cities, bigger cities that are more appealing probably [business- and marketing-wise]. The impact would be bigger if that is what you are looking for.”
Atlanta owns Horford’s Bird rights, which allows it to offer more than any other team. The Hawks are interested in re-signing Horford, but at what price remains to be seen. "Al is a big part of our program and knows how much we value him,” Mike Budenholzer told Yahoo Sports. “Our focus and job remain the same, and that is building the best program possible and establishing a culture that Al and any other player would want to be part of. He is the type of player we want to continue building with now and into the future.”
There is a sense among NBA insiders that a hefty offer could steal Horford away from the Hawks, especially if the team continues to regress from their record setting form from last season.
Lastly, I know you've said you're waiting after the season to figure out your contract situation. What led you to that decision? [Horford will be a free agent in 2016.] Horford: For me, I'm very happy in Atlanta. It's one of those things where I don't want any contract talks to be a distraction for my team and me. I feel like my focus this year is for us to build and be better. Since we can't do anything right now, we'll wait until the season's over and then we can start talking about all that.
“My focus right now is to get better individually and help our team be the best team that we can be,” Horford told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tuesday. “I have the same mindset and that is to help our team win and put us in a good position and try to be better. As far as the contract stuff, I’m going to wait until the season is over. I’m not going to let that linger and be a distraction. The focus is to be on the Hawks, on our team and getting better. Once the season ends, we’ll be able to sit down and talk and figure out all of that.”
September 27, 2021 | 11:32 am EDT Update
Shams Charania: Pelicans’ Zion Williamson had surgery for a fractured right foot this offseason and should return for the start of the regular season, David Griffin says.
Eliot Clough: Griff says the team will approach the preseason like training camp, and “I anticipate we’ll be ramping up throughout the preseason.” Zion’s injury is his right foot and his fifth metacarpal.
Andrew Lopez: Griff says Zion was working out prior to summer league and suffered the injury then. Says head strength and conditioning coach Stan Williams has been with Zion throughout the summer and his recovery was “in lockstep” with the team.