NBA Rumors: Atlanta Hawks Giving Al Horford Maximum Contract

NBA rumors are swirling around Al Horford. The 6’10”, 250 pound center is set to become a free agent this upcoming summer. There should be plenty of interest from teams in the National Basketball Association. Horford is still one of the best big men in basketball. The Atlanta Hawks are one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. They obviously want to keep the good times rolling. According to Hoops Rumors, the Hawks want to give Horford a maximum contract this summer.

Just based on numbers alone, it is easy to tell that Al Horford is a good player. He averages 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks a game. Horford could easily score more than 20 points a game, but the Atlanta Hawks run a team oriented offense. The ball is shared by all the players on the court. Horford would also have more rebounds if he didn’t share the front court with Paul Millsap, who hauls down nine a game.

Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap Paul Millsap [Photo by Kevin C Cox/Getty Images]According to his agent, Al Horford really likes being with the Atlanta Hawks. He would love to finish his entire NBA career with the franchise. The reason why his name constantly popped up in trade rumors was because the Hawks weren’t entirely certain that they wanted to commit a gigantic contract to keep him around. Since Horford is one of the better players around, several teams in the National Basketball Association expressed interest during the trade deadline.

The Atlanta Hawks are now committed to keeping Al Horford around because they don’t want to go into a reloading period. They would be fine with Paul Millsap in the front court, but they’re even better when he is paired up with Horford. The former Florida Gators star really likes the unselfishness of his teammates. He also likes the scheme that Mike Budenholzier has installed, which was inspired by Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs.

Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzier Mike Budenholzier [Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images]Al Horford would be making a bit of a sacrifice by staying with the Atlanta Hawks. He has long been interested in playing next to a legitimate center. Horford feels that he might be better at his natural position of power forward. Since Paul Millsap deserves to be in the starting lineup, that’s not going to happen for Horford. The best that he can hope for is that Mike Budenholzier modifies the rotation, so that he gets playing time with backup center Tiago Splitter.

Staying with the Atlanta Hawks also means that Al Horford will be sacrificing his legacy. Though he’s a great player, he needs better statistics if he ever wants to be in the NBA Hall of Fame. That’s not going to happen when you’re playing on a stacked roster. Then again, Horford seems the type of guy that feels that winning a championship is more important than that.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James LeBron James [Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images]Signing Al Horford to a maximum contract is just the beginning for the Atlanta Hawks. The team still needs to catch up to the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers. Things are made even more complicated as the Eastern Conference is becoming more competitive. Dwyane Wade still powers the Miami Heat. The Charlotte Hornets and Boston Celtics have progressed at a rapid rate. The Hawks will need another key piece or two.

Signing a 30 year player to a five year deal worth more than $100 million might not be an easy thing to swallow. The Atlanta Hawks are willing to do it because they want to keep winning more games than they lose. Sometimes, sacrifices like that are necessary in the NBA because you don’t want to alienate your fan base. Doing that makes it so much harder to make money.

[Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]