A look around the Inter Webs at some early reaction to Al’s $60 million contract extension. Pretty much everyone praised the deal while simultaneously taking shots at J.J.’s contract. . .
AJC wise guy Jeff Schultz says the Hawks got it right:
“When the Hawks announced that they had made Joe Johnson the highest-paid player in the NBA, we all waited for the punchline.
Tuesday, the Hawks announced Al Horford has agreed to a five-year extension worth $60 million. This news isn’t deserving of a punchline — it’s deserving of a parade.
Horford is more than just a talented player. He is an All-Star center even though power forward is his stronger and more natural position. He is a building block unlike any building block the Hawks have had for several years. He is a leader. He has substance.”
At Peachtree Hoops, readers are overwhelmingly approving the deal, with “Awesome! ATL! ATL!” leading the poll by a landslide.
ESPN.com’s Chad Ford focuses on Atlanta’s finances, saying Al’s extension “came as a mild surprise to a number of GMs around the league on Monday” with those same GMs (I assume) now speculating that the Hawks won’t be able to keep Joe, Al, Josh, Marvin and Jamal together after this season. So Ford further speculates the Hawks will have to trade Smoove.
Ken Berger at CBSSports.com reports Atlanta was compelled to give Al the $60 million because Joakim Noah got $60 million. “Sources say the Hawks’ hand was forced by the Bulls’ decision to give Noah a five-year, $60 million extension. Atlanta officials were hoping that looming labor uncertainty would allow them to re-up with Horford at a discount, but that possibility went by the boards once Noah got his deal.”
(Not sure why Noah’s deal would force the Hawks to give Al an extension. If they thought $60 million is too much they could have just passed and waited to work out a deal next summer. Berger also writes Sund has “almost without exception declined to do such extensions in the past.” That’s true for vet contracts but not rookie-scale extensions.)
Bron Tallant at SBNation says the deal “looks great to all parties”:
“Al Horford gets his long term security guaranteed, and this deal is really similar to what Josh Smith signed two offseasons ago (5 Years, $58 million). Yes, it’s more, but that’s just the upward correct of increasing player salaries. Having similar contracts for both of your young frontcourt stars looks really good on paper, and the Hawks have successfully managed to avoid overpaying for either.”
Kurt Helin at probasketballtak.com says the Hawks “needed to make this deal” because Al will be “more central to the Hawks than Joe Johnson” five years from now.
Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie says “the Hawks should be thrilled” with the deal:
“They were able to keep an important piece of their core — an emerging star and fan favorite who can score around the basket, defend elite bigs and has a winner’s pedigree that dates back to his days at the University of Florida — and they didn’t even have to sign him to the worst contract in league history to do it.”
SI’s Chris Mannix Tweets: “Like the Hawks decision to extend Horford but they have to get him some help in the middle. A team with Al at center isn’t winning anything.”