Citing “sources close to the situation,” Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports that Hawks center Al Horford is a “strong contender” to receive a contract extension before the Nov. 1 deadline. He notes that Horford’s position as “a borderline All-Star big man”—he indeed made the All-Star team last year—as well as his choice in representation are helping his chances. Stein notes that Arn Tellem, who negotiated a maximum contract for Hawks swingman Joe Johnson earlier this summer, also represents Horford, which could give him an advantage.
Nov. 1 is the deadline for members of the 2007 draft class to reach extension agreements with their current teams. Should Horford not agree to an extension with Atlanta by that time, he will become a restricted free agent next summer, though the strong possibility of a lockout makes predicting anything beyond that point difficult.
The 6-foot-10 Horford is coming off his third NBA season, which was also his finest: he averaged 14.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.1 blocks while shooting 55.1 percent from the field. Given those numbers, and the fact that he only turned 24 over the summer, it’s easy to see why the Hawks want to keep him in their long-term plans.