Hawks got it right this time by locking up Al Horford

Al Horford, here blocking a shot against Philadelphia, is deserving of his new $60 million contract. (AP photo)

Al Horford, here blocking a shot against Philadelphia, is deserving of his new $60 million contract. (AP photo)

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.

Josh Smith and Joe Johnson both can be great players. Neither are great leaders. That, along with Johnson’s side swipe at Hawks fans during last year’s second-round implosion against Orlando, is why so many fans were angered by the team giving him a six-year, $124 million contract (the largest current package of any NBA player).

General manager Rick Sund on Horford: “From the moment he arrived in Atlanta, Al has been a large part of our success.” It’s not just a coincidence the team has made the playoffs in all three of his seasons.

Horford’s maturity was apparent from the time he arrived from Florida, where he won two Final Fours. He isn’t afraid to speak up when it’s needed. After the Orlando series, he was the only player in the Hawks’ locker room who said what was needed.

“Just watch and see [Orlando’s] level of intensity that they played with,” Horford said after the elimination game in May. “That defines their team. They’re a championship caliber team. Just take that in and play like that for next season.

“It takes a whole lot of effort. It’s almost to the point where you have to make yourself feel uncomfortable out there. We didn’t have that this year. With some of our guys when fatigue set in, everybody kind of shied away from it.”

Team work, toughness and consistent work ethic are three things new coach Larry Drew is trying to bring to the Hawks. (So far it’s working: The Hawks are 3-0.) Horford exemplifies all three.

This one, the Hawks got right.

Earlier posts

Did Grantham give Florida kicker the choke sign?

Georgia’s bowl life could come down to Tech game

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68 comments Add your comment

Herschel Talker

November 1st, 2010
4:52 pm

The NBA is worthless!

Jack Nine Offsuit

November 1st, 2010
5:01 pm

Essential move by Hawks, maybe even more important than re-signing Joe Johnson. Al is the kind of player you win championships with…..he may not be a Lead Dog, but he’s gonna be a very, very good player in this league for years to come. Multiple All-Star games in his future.

Cousin Curtis

November 1st, 2010
5:02 pm

Agreed, Jeff. Good to know he’ll be around as a cornerstone for Larry Drew to build his team on. I like that they’ve gone into this season with very little buzz, too. Given a couple of missing pieces more, I’d expect for the Hawks to surprise the league within a year or two.

Stuart

November 1st, 2010
5:03 pm

Good for the Hawks. Now what will happen with Jamal? Demand an extension? Traded?

Reid in EAV

November 1st, 2010
5:04 pm

I invested in the Hawks and the NBA last season. Then Joe Johnson made me feel like an idiot for doing so. Never again.

Richard Denson

November 1st, 2010
5:07 pm

Next on the Hawks List
1. Re-Sign Jamal Crawford
2. Focus on the season and defeat Miami and Orlando
3. Think about signing Greg Oden in the off season
4. If you do #4 then cut Josh Powell and Etan Thomas and sign Greg Oden and draft a PF.

Peter

November 1st, 2010
5:08 pm

Hey that is great.Now if we can land a center that would be even better !

Ernest

November 1st, 2010
5:08 pm

Good move by the Hawks in locking up a key part of their core! Who keeps saying the owners are cheap?

Boneyard Randy

November 1st, 2010
5:11 pm

Congrats to Big Al! See you on Wednesday night at The Factory!

DHD

November 1st, 2010
5:13 pm

Great player, great guy, great leader. He will get better. Great move!!

[...] Hawks got it right this time by locking up Al HorfordAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)(AP photo) When the Hawks announced that they had made Joe Johnson the highest-paid player in the NBA, we all waited for the punchline. …Contract Extensions Elude Much of 2007 NBA Draft ClassNew York Times (blog)Sources: Atlanta Hawks, Al Horford agree to $60M dealESPNAl Horford, Hawks Reportedly Agree on Contract ExtensionFanHouseSports Haze -SB Nation Atlanta -CBSSports.com (blog)all 128 news articles » [...]

"Chef" Tim Dix

November 1st, 2010
5:16 pm

Dude is smart. Dude is well spoken. Dude is a leader and a winner.

IceColdATLien

November 1st, 2010
5:23 pm

I can’t believe that they actually didn’t screw this up!! It’s amazing…

Dawglasville

November 1st, 2010
5:24 pm

110% Horford is the heart of the team. He is a champion. Unfortunately we still have the Spirit group. Come back Ted!

IceColdATLien

November 1st, 2010
5:24 pm

Not to mention that $12mil/yr for an All-Star big is very reasonable

Word

November 1st, 2010
5:29 pm

Al is the only player on this team that is not expendable…..maybe Joe and Josh too, but Al is a must have.

Glad to see Al will be around for a while….Go Gators and go Hawks!

jon

November 1st, 2010
5:31 pm

Finally this organization made a good decision and now don’t have to scramble over the summer. Good Blog Jeff!

Mike Woodson

November 1st, 2010
5:32 pm

I didn’t want Al back, but wanted to bring Jon Koncak back from retirement to be our star center. Also sign Mutumbo in the offseason.
Wait, let me check my mail box for my unemployment check.

[...] Hawks got it right this time by locking up Al HorfordAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)(AP photo) When the Hawks announced that they had made Joe Johnson the highest-paid player in the NBA, we all waited for the punchline. …Contract Extensions Elude Much of 2007 NBA Draft ClassNew York Times (blog)Sources: Atlanta Hawks, Al Horford agree to $60M dealESPNAl Horford, Hawks Reportedly Agree on Contract ExtensionFanHouseSports Haze -SB Nation Atlanta -Columbus Telegramall 152 news articles » [...]

Josh

November 1st, 2010
5:35 pm

Richard Denson,
that was a worthless post. Horford is a power forward. So why would we draft another one? And Greg Oden? Do you not watch the NBA?

and btw Josh Powell looks pretty good…

RayBud

November 1st, 2010
5:36 pm

Go Hawks!!!! Let’s do this!!!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by William Sevidal and Robert Morgan, Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: Hawks got it right this time by locking up Al Horford http://bit.ly/9V1jx3 [...]

Jeff Schultz Fan

November 1st, 2010
6:18 pm

Enter your comments here

JeJe

November 1st, 2010
6:39 pm

I agree with Josh. Josh Powell is looking solid rite now

[...] Hawks got it right this time by locking up Al HorfordAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)(AP photo) When the Hawks announced that they had made Joe Johnson the highest-paid player in the NBA, we all waited for the punchline. …Contract Extensions Elude Much of 2007 NBA Draft ClassNew York Times (blog)Sources: Atlanta Hawks, Al Horford agree to $60M dealESPNAl Horford, Hawks Reportedly Agree on Contract ExtensionFanHouseSports Haze -SB Nation Atlanta -CBSSports.com (blog)all 143 news articles » [...]

Jeff Schultz

November 1st, 2010
7:05 pm

Cousin Curtis — Thanks. If Teague develops, to me the only missing piece is a “real” center, so they can move Al to PF.

[...] points (14.2) and …Contract Extensions Elude Much of 2007 NBA Draft ClassNew York Times (blog)Hawks got it right this time by locking up Al HorfordAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Sources: Atlanta Hawks, Al Horford agree to $60M [...]

Stringmusic

November 1st, 2010
7:13 pm

Al Horford is a winner. He shows up every night and brings it. Find more like him please.

shannon

November 1st, 2010
7:28 pm

Jeff with the signing of horford,whats does this mean for jamal? no way the hawks can afford all these starters after this season..U think they move williams or smith by the deadline?

ignition

November 1st, 2010
7:36 pm

I Love This.. Thank Goodness… Al is the Rock of the Team… Josh is the catalyst & damn near our entire Defense…

Pluto

November 1st, 2010
7:42 pm

I thought all the other teams were supposed to lay down since L James decided to move his talents to South Beach.

[...] Hawks got it right this time by locking up Al HorfordAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)(AP photo) When the Hawks announced that they had made Joe Johnson the highest-paid player in the NBA, we all waited for the punchline. …Contract Extensions Elude Much of 2007 NBA Draft ClassNew York Times (blog)Sources: Atlanta Hawks, Al Horford agree to $60M dealESPNAl Horford, Hawks Reportedly Agree on Contract ExtensionFanHouseSports Haze -SB Nation Atlanta -CBSSports.com (blog)all 206 news articles » [...]

ClassicHawks

November 1st, 2010
7:54 pm

I have been saying for a while we should build the team around Al & Joe Johnson. Trade Josh And MArvin For Carmelo. The Nuggets Would Take The Trade In A Heart Beat. Josh Smith is never going to be an All Star Because He Refuses to work on his mid range game. He is a PF in a Small Forwrds Body, With A Small Forwards Mentality. Josh is still very immature and when you have a player like Carmelo out there, you go get him. Carmelo would sign the three year extension in a heart beat. Atlanta is a Big enough market and the Hawks Would be an instant contender. We are close now, but we are missing that Superstar to take us over the top. We would never make this trade for obvious reasons, But until we change up this roster we will NEVER WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP! Its like having a puzzle and the pieces just don’t quite add up. It worked in Detroit because the pieces fit. Josh is suppose to be Ben Wallace, But Josh is more like T. Prince, and Al Horford is no where near the ability of Rasheed in his prime. And Jeff Teague is the X factor who could take this team over the top, but he is at least a year or two away before he is running the point. CONGRATS AL, Man You Are A True Professional and The Only irreplaceable piece on this squad, but unless the Hawks Trade Josh And Marvin For Another Superstar, We Are Doomed to have Great Regular Season Success, Just Playing More Balanced and Stronger Teams in The Playoffs. SAME OLD HAWKS. Still Love Em Though! PROVE ME WRONG JOSH AND MARVIN!

Reid Adair

November 1st, 2010
7:55 pm

For the disaster that was giving Joe Johnson a max contract, this is a very smart move. If the continue to alternate disaster-good, I am afraid to see the next disaster.

Art Vandelay

November 1st, 2010
8:07 pm

@ClassicHawks, Carmelo is a one-dimensional scorer who plays no defense and would just compete with Joe and Jamal for touches. There’s a reason Denver hasn’t won anything with him there. We need someone like Noah — a defense-first center who knows his role and comes from a championship pedigree like Horford.

And no, I’m not suggesting that Noah is available, but someone LIKE him is the tonic this team needs.

blame jesus

November 1st, 2010
8:09 pm

Dude needs to hire Boras as his agent. He left millions on the table.

OldTimer

November 1st, 2010
8:35 pm

My opinion on the Heats big three. They’re all lazy. Hawks could actually do something with this.

lombardi

November 1st, 2010
8:42 pm

Kudos indeed.

Football Fan

November 1st, 2010
8:57 pm

Thanks to a league that lets the Heat sign the best 3 players to max contracts it is implicit that the league is broken. I will watch absolutely zero games this year and have given up the NBA entirely. This is coming from a man that had seats two rows IN FRONT of Roy Williams during the playoffs last year.

Football Fan

November 1st, 2010
9:11 pm

I understand they didn’t sign max contracts, but they are close to max. Wade, James, and Bosh made minor concessions so they could all sign close to max deals. The franchise tag in the NFL would’ve prevented this. The Heat has ruined the league. The NFL makes more money than the NBA, MLB, and NHL combined….literally. Parity is good.

Jeff Schultz

November 1st, 2010
9:20 pm

Shannon — I agree it’s a lot of money they’ve committed to. A trade wouldn’t surprise me. Obviously there would be more interest in Smith than Williams on trade market, but I’m not convinced Hawks want to deal Smith.

Jagstang76

November 1st, 2010
9:47 pm

I really like that they inked Al for the long-term. He’s the right guy to have around regardless of who else is on this team. I know, according to typical perceptions, Horford is a more ideal PF and Josh is a SF. However, look at the majority of the NBA, and you will see that there aren’t that many guys that fit the traditional roles anymore. Guys are slightly shorter and more athletic. There are fewer Shaqs and Mings and more guys like Horford, Noah, and Lopez. Sure, there will be mismatches, but there are always mismatches and we often come out with the advantage because of Smith’s and Horford’s athleticism. I don’t think we can afford to lose either of them. Maybe Josh IF we were to get a near all-star C in return (like that’s gonna happen – that would be a miracle like when Sund got Jamal – so perhaps it’s possible). I didn’t agree with resigning Joe. I thought we should have taken our chances without him. But now, we will have to see what Sund has up his sleeve with the challenge he’s set himself up with.

AtlHawksFan2001

November 1st, 2010
9:55 pm

This might sound crazy but i think if Melo gets traded (which is likely) then Chauncey Billups might want a trade too because lets be real it doesn’t matter who denver trades Melo for, he’s not going to be on Melo’s level. Its more then likely going to be a package deal for Melo. So i think the hawks should try to grab Chauncey, in exchange for either of these situations: Bibby + Moe + future 1st rounder or Bibby + Marv. Chauncey believe it or not would fit in EXTREMLY WELL. He will be just like Bibby, he can shoot the 3, plus WAY BETTER defense, and he can create his own shot, something the Hawks lack in the starting lineup. (Besides Joe). He will bring that leadership to the table, and he’s a very savy player, something like bibby but bibby’s just way pass due. This trade seems very unlikely but if it does the Hawks WILL compete for the EASTERN FINALS

PatO

November 1st, 2010
9:57 pm

It does not matter. Basketball Sucks dirt!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[...] Read this article: Hawks got it right this time by locking up Al Horford – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

shannon

November 1st, 2010
11:12 pm

Jeff would a smith for melo trade work financially?

Ryan

November 1st, 2010
11:25 pm

Keep Smith. Trade Marvin. Get a center let Horford, Smith, Johnson, Teague, Center. Thats what we ened. Trade Marvin and Crawford for a good big man.

Hawks still CANT beat Orlando .

November 1st, 2010
11:33 pm

Its the same team as last year, how can we expect to beat Orlando? It wont matter how many wins we get in the season because come playoff time the hawks will get killed/murdered/destroyed/butt raped by Orlando just like last year. Same Team=Same Result.

Hawks still CANT beat Orlando .

November 1st, 2010
11:36 pm

With that being said this signing was the only good thing the Hawks have done since beating the Bucks in round 1 last year.

Whopper Dawg

November 2nd, 2010
6:42 am

Horford contract is a good move. I just wish to goodness they had done something different with Johnson, that will turn into the mill stone around this franchise;’s neck. Look at it this way, we are securing the team that should have been beaten by the Bucks in the first round/.