Al Horford‘s future with the franchise is perhaps the biggest question facing the Hawks this offseason. The 29-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent. He stands to more than double his salary in free agency and may change the perception of who deserves a max contract, opined Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders. Horford is making $12MM this season, but when he hits the open market this summer after completing his ninth NBA season, he’ll be eligible for a contract starting at approximately 30% of the salary cap. That works out to a first-year salary of approximately $26MM and means that a four-year maximum contract for the veteran player would cost a team in the neighborhood of $111MM.
That is certainly a hefty sum for a player who has never averaged higher than 18.6 points per game in a season, but with the salary cap set to increase markedly for next season, the perception of player worth is likely to change dramatically as well. That brings me to the topic for today: Is Al Horford worth a maximum salary contract?
The big man is coming off a solid, if unspectacular campaign that saw him post averages of 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 32.1 minutes per outing. Horford is a perfect fit in coach Mike Budenholzer‘s offense, which certainly should factor into the Hawks’ decision-making process regarding the center. Signing any big man to a long-term pact is a major risk these days, and Horford, who turns 30 in June, is entering the decline phase of his career, which isn’t a plus when weighing the pros and cons of committing a sizeable chunk of cap space to him. The center has had injury issues in the past, missing significant parts of the 2011/12 and 2013/14 campaigns.
But what say you? Is Horford worth annual salaries of $26MM or more? If so, do you think he re-signs with the Hawks for that amount or heads elsewhere? Take to the comments section to share your thoughts and opinions. We look forward to what you have to say.