Tuesday , Nov , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Al Horford in, Josh Smith out with Atlanta Hawks?

The Atlanta Hawks announced Monday that the team has agreed to terms on a multi-year extension with center Al Horford, according to Executive Vice President and General Manager Rick Sund.

Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed. Media reports indicate the deal is worth $60 million over five years.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: One step forward. How many steps backwards?

Instead of celebrating signing Al Horford to a reported five-year, $60 million extension, the Atlanta Hawks were peppered with questions about the future.

Fair enough. Forget their recent on-court success. These are the Hawks.

They’re still the Siberia South of the NBA. They still have dysfunctional owners. And they still lack the resources to field a champion.

The news of Horford’s signing led to one question: who is leaving?

After all, the Hawks can’t possibly afford big tickets for Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, and Horford, right?

Somebody must be on the trading block, but whom?

Johnson, the franchise star with a max’ contract, isn’t leaving; there’s little market for an expensive blending player like Williams, especially in this economy; and Horford just re-upped.

This makes Smith – a high-flying, talented, and temperamental forward – expendable. He’ll be in demand, even with three years and $36 million remaining on his big ticket. 

While he has more baggage than a New York socialite on a weekend jaunt to the Hamptons, Smith can play.

He’s long, athletic, and versatile. Trading him for financial flexibility would hurt one of the Eastern Conference’s most promising teams.

Such is life with the Hawks. One step forward, two steps backwards. Somethings never change.

–Oly Sandor.

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