clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Al Horford may quietly be available for the right price in a trade

The Hawks' franchise big man is a free agent this summer. Most assumed he'd stay in Atlanta, but there are some whispers that he might consider leaving. Do we believe them?

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford will be one of the most coveted free agents on the market this summer, although the Hawks have the upper hand because they can offer him a five-year, $146 million max deal other teams can't. However, it remains to be seen whether Atlanta is willing to pay up for the 29-year-old. Yahoo Sports' Marc Spears reports the team will even listen to trade pitches for Horford because it may not want to risk losing him for nothing when he explores free agency.

This doesn't mean that the Hawks are shopping Horford or that a deal is likely to happen. They simply could be doing their due diligence to see what teams are willing to give up. But it's still somewhat notable that they're listening to offers at all, as perhaps there are some doubts about him staying in Atlanta. Or perhaps there are some internal questions about giving a soon-to-be 30-year-old a five-year max deal.

Both Horford and Hawks president and head coach Mike Budenholzer naturally spoke glowingly of the other party. Budenholzer called Horford "a big part of our program" and said he's the type of player they want to keep building with moving forward. Horford talked up the city of Atlanta and said he likes the direction the organization is heading.

However, Horford also allowed that he could potentially land more off-court financial opportunities in other cities, so you wonder if that's on his mind.

Why Horford would stay in Atlanta

Horford has spent his entire nine-year career in Atlanta and has familiarity with the organization and the current core. He's teamed with Paul Millsap the last three years to form one of most versatile frontcourts in the league and the Hawks remain one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference this season despite taking a step back from last year's magical 60-win campaign.

There's also that money factor. No other team can give Horford the five-year max. Sure, some of the financial opportunities in other cities may be greater, but do those possibilities outweigh that extra guaranteed money he'd get as he heads into his mid-30s? That five-year max with the extra dollars offers nice security.

Why Horford would leave Atlanta

After nine years, Horford may simply want to start fresh. Last season was the first time the Hawks have been to the conference finals with the big man. They won't be a favorite to get back there this season barring major injuries to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors. The grass isn't always greener, but perhaps he sees it that way if Atlanta flames out in the postseason.

There is also some uncertainty surrounding the team's core. Jeff Teague's name has come up in trade rumors, Kyle Korver is getting up there in age and breakout wing Kent Bazemore is set to hit unrestricted free agency looking for a hefty raise. The Hawks don't have much in the way of young talent, so they may look to take a step back in the short term to rebuild their future. If that's the plan, is it prudent to  commit significant long-term money to Horford?

Likelihood Horford leaves Atlanta

Horford seems comfortable in a good situation in Atlanta, so it'd be a bit of a surprise if he goes elsewhere and an even bigger surprise if the Hawks actually dealt him. I'd put the odds of a Horford trade at 2/10, but a 4/10 chance he actually leaves in free agency.