Before we begin this discussion, the question is not whether Al Horford is wanted by the fans or the Atlanta Hawks organization, but this is simply trying to figure out whether or not Horford is worth the amount of money he’ll earn this off-season. Whether you like it or not, Al Horford is not worth a max contract. Over the last nine years, Al Horford made a huge impact to the Hawks organization and also in the community and that is why he’s one of the overall great ambassadors the NBA.
Horford has been Atlanta’s model of consistency since the Hawks drafted him third overall in 2007 out of the University of Florida. In his 8 years with the Hawks, Horford averaged 14.3 points per game and 8 rebounds per game along with shooting roughly 53% from the field. Solid numbers for any NBA star, but is that really worth max money? It’s not and I’ll tell you why Atlanta should part ways with Horford before today’s deadline.
|Al Horford’s three pointer late in the Hawks/Jazz game earlier this season|
Moving along, although Al Horford finds different ways to expand his game, he’s even developed his game as a three point shooter, his numbers have slipped in the last few years. Over the last three seasons, Horford’s field goal percentage dropped from 56% to a respectable 49%. The most alarming category of decline is his numbers as a overall rebounder. Horford saw his rebounds per game decline for the last four years as well. Horford supporters will state “he’s an undersized Power Forward playing Center card” ; however, if you want to earn a max contract in the NBA, that excuse is invalid especially when discussing the talents of players with same size as Al Horford that provides a bigger impact in the paint than him such as Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson. Another head scratching stat would have to be his lack of double doubles. In 2012 , Horford posted 43 double doubles, however, he has only had a total of 33 since that year, which is surprising.
|Al Horford’s slam over Antwan Jamison|
Al Horford is Atlanta, he’s probably one of the first players you’ll mention when discussing the Hawks; However, as a fan who loves this team, the business aspect of the NBA can be tough. Horford is expected to request a max deal this off-season with the salary cap expanding; my theory is for the Hawks to trade him now and get something for him as we continue to build from last season’s success rather than losing him in free agency and earning nothing in return. The Hawks in position financially to potentially land a game changing player this summer; however, this would be slim with Al Horford receiving a max contract extension for three or four more years.
|Al Horford blocks Paul George dunk attempt|
Moving along, I’m not going on record to say Atlanta can lure Kevin Durant, so don’t cross your fingers guys. However, there are some moves Atlanta can make in order to ensure that they will compete for a Eastern Conference Championship for years to come. If the Hawks decide to pay Al Horford this off-season , personally I’ll be very disappointed and wouldn’t be surprised because as a long term Hawks fans we’ve seen have seen this story before (Remember Joe Johnson in 2010?) Atlanta will fall to the middle of the pack with the immense competition improvement in the East and with the direction our organization has transitioned from throughout the years under new leadership, I don’t think Atlanta will trade Horford and will re-sign him during the off-season.
|Josh Smith to Al Horford back in the 2012-13 season|
If I was the General Manager, I would trade Al Horford in some combination to the Houston Rockets for All-Star veteran center Dwight Howard in a trade that would be a rental for both teams. Honestly, Houston is the perfect suitor for a undersized center in the NBA so the list of teams looking for deadline help are not as inclined to budge on any lucrative offer for Al Horford. With the deadline looming today, the Hawks immediate contending position is at stake and I feel if we stand pat, we will not be a major threat to win the Eastern Conference when the NBA Playoffs begin.
Michael Thomas: (@ChosenOne_MT10)