The Hawks and Al Horford have agreed to a 5-year, $60 million contract extension.
Atlanta’s All-Star center and his agent, Arn Tellem, met with the team this afternoon finalize the deal, which also is expected to include performance incentives. The sides had until the end of business today to reach an agreement or Horford would have become a restricted free agent next summer.
“It happened like I’ve been predicting–down to the wire,” Horford said today after practice. “When we finally kind of agreed on everything, I was super excited.”
Horford’s deal is similar to the contract extension signed by Bulls center Joakim Noah, whom he teamed with to win two NCAA championships at the University of Florida. The Hawks selected Horford with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 draft while Noah was picked No. 9 by Chicago.
The Hawks and Tellem opened negotiations at the start of training camp but there was little movement in talks as recently as two weeks ago. With the deadline approaching, the two sides met this weekend and worked out a deal.
“From the moment he arrived in Atlanta, Al has been a large part of our success,” Hawks GM Rick Sund said in a statement released by the team. “The winning tradition he brought to the franchise as a rookie out of Florida has extended to three consecutive playoff seasons in a Hawks uniform. In addition, he was deservedly recognized as an All-Star last year, and we certainly look forward to his continued development as we move forward.”
Horford was eligible for an extension for as many as five years and as much as $82 million under the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement, which expires in June. The final terms of the extension could possibly be altered when the league and players agree to a new CBA but Horford would have a contract that must be honored.
Horford has said all along he hoped to sign an extension because he likes Atlanta and his teammates and believes the team is headed in the right direction.
“It’s great to be able to get it done and have peace of mind,” Horford said. “It makes me able to come out and just focus on basketball, which is my priority to begin with. So I’m happy about that part.”
Horford’s deal comes after the Hawks signed guard Joe Johnson to a six-year, $123.7 million over the summer.
Guard Jamal Crawford has asked the team for a contract extension or, in lieu of a satisfactory agreement, a trade. The Hawks now have to be concerned how Crawford will perceive Johnson and Horford’s new deals when he also is considered part of the franchise’s “core” and the team’s philosophy has been to keep the group intact.