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Hawks, Al Horford Begin Discussing Contract Extension

Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports the Atlanta Hawks have begun talking about a contract extension for big man Al Horford with Horford's agent, Arn Tellem. This news comes according to Horford himself, and not the team, as GM Rick Sund declines comment on all personnel matters, says Cunningham.

This season, the deadline for any team to reach an extension agreement is Nov. 1, as Chris Tomasson of NBA FanHouse reported last week. Cunningham notes the most the Hawks can offer Horford is a deal worth approximately $82 million over five seasons.

Horford made the All-Star team last year, averaging career-bests in scoring (14.2), rebounding (9.9), field-goal shooting (55.1 percent), and free-throw shooting (78.9 percent). Though he possesses the size of a typical power forward, Horford has indeed succeeded as the Hawks' center. Atlanta made him the third overall pick in the 2007 Draft, and he has not disappointed.

As a point of reference, center Joakim Noah just inked a $60 million extension over five years with the Chicago Bulls. Given the fact that he's more than a year younger than Noah, and already an All-Star, Horford should probably expect to get a richer deal than Noah did.

Should Horford and the Hawks not agree on extension terms, he will become a restricted free agent next summer, meaning Atlanta will reserve the right to match any offer he receives from another team.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.