Soon-to-be free agent Al Horford isn’t leaving any doubt about his fondness for Atlanta and the Hawks, answering affirmatively Sunday when Zach Klein of WSB-TV asked whether he wants to be back with the team next season (Twitter link). The Jason Glushon client expressed his faith in Mike Budenholzer’s system, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com relays. “I believe it in my heart,” Horford said. “I believe that the way that we play makes us successful, and we have to figure out how we can take that next step as a group.” Those weren’t the only remarks Horford made in the wake of Sunday’s playoff ouster that sound encouraging to Atlanta’s hopes of re-signing him, but players on expiring contracts often speak well of their incumbent teams at season’s end, only to head elsewhere in July.
See more from Atlanta amid the latest from the Southeast Division:
- Trade candidate Jeff Teague doesn’t think the Hawks will pull the trigger on a deal this summer, expressing confidence Sunday that he’ll be back next season even after the Hawks sat him the entire fourth quarter of Game 4 in favor of Dennis Schröder, notes Ray Glier of USA Today. “Yeah, I’ve been here my whole career, why wouldn’t I?” Teague said.
- Hornets star point guard Kemba Walker underwent surgery Monday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, the team announced on its website. Walker is expected to resume basketball activities in early July, according to the release. This was Walker’s second procedure on the knee in 16 months, but it was more elective than urgent, a source told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Walker has experienced soreness in the knee since his high school days, Bonnell adds.
- The Wizards will attend the predraft camp in Chicago this week and have asked permission from the league to interview 30 prospects, J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com reports. The team will be looking at mainly second-round prospects who could go undrafted with their primary focus being power forwards and centers, Michael adds. Washington must convey its first-round pick to the Suns unless it has lottery luck and has also traded away its second-rounder.
- Budenholzer resists the notion that consecutive sweeps at the hands of Cleveland should prompt the Hawks to tear apart their roster, observes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Losing to Cleveland twice is tough,” Budenholzer said. “But to the fanbase, to people who think [about blowing it up], if we want to find a way to beat whether it be Cleveland or whoever the great teams in the league or our conference are, blowing it up is probably not the way to beat a team like Cleveland or whoever it may be that is very good.”