Al Horford, Hawks Agree on Contract Extension
"From the moment he arrived in Atlanta, Al has been a large part of our success," Atlanta's 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, the No. 3 pick in the vaunted 2007 NBA Draft, had been said to be looking for max-level money from Atlanta but has apparently settled for the substantial but substantially lesser $60-million figure. It's the same dollar level Joakim Noah got from the Chicago Bulls in early October; Noah was the No. 9 pick in 2007. The only other first-round pick from that draft to have signed an extension this summer is No. 2 pick and 2010 NBA MVP runner-up Kevin Durant, who went max with the Thunder in July.
Today is the deadline for 2007 first-round picks to reach early extensions, which go into effect for the 2011-12 season, with their teams. Few if any other eligible players are expected to reach agreements, setting up a massive carnival of restricted free agents next summer, should the NBA avoid a work stoppage. FanHouse's Chris Tomasson has learned that the Nuggets had considered extending Arron Afflalo but decided against it. Jared Dudley appears to be the only other first-round pick who still has a chance at an extension, but that now seems unlikely, as well.
If Durant, Horford and Noah end up being the only three first-round picks from the class of 2007 to sign extensions, it would be the fewest for a draft class in NBA history. The previous record low was six from 2006 that were extended last fall.
Horford's extension negotiations were particularly interesting because of behind-the-scenes machinations. Just before the negotiation window opened in July, Horford fired agent Aaron Goodwin, who had represented the big man since he had elected to leave Florida after his junior year. Horford replaced Goodwin with Arn Tellem, who that week coaxed a six-year, $120 million deal for client Joe Johnson out of Atlanta.
Goodwin told FanHouse's Sam Amick in an exclusive last week that he plans to pursue legal action against Tellem for poaching Horford. Once filed, the NBA Players Association will decide whether to send Goodwin's complaint to arbitration. Agent Keith Glass recently won a judgment against agent Andy Miller centered on the alleged poaching of former NBA player Quincy Douby.
That Horford left Goodwin, who negotiated Durant's max extension as well as those for former clients Dwight Howard and LeBron James, only to take a less-than-max contract adds even more intrigue to Tellem's recruitment of the Hawks' All-Star center.
-- FanHouse's Chris Tomasson contributed to this report.