The 2015-16 NBA season is officially over for the Atlanta Hawks. The veteran squad led by Al Horford, Jeff Teague, and Paul Millsap were able to lock up the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and make easy work of the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs but stood no chance against LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round.
After getting swept by the Cavaliers in four games, the Hawks will head into the NBA offseason with a few questions surrounding the future of the franchise. The team’s top priority with free agency looming is locking up Al Horford to a lucrative long-term deal.
At this point, Horford is expected to be courted by a number of different teams this summer. The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are expected to be two teams to ask for a meeting with Horford, but the veteran center may be set on returning to Atlanta with the 29-year-old recently praising the city, via Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“It means a lot,” Horford said of Atlanta. “I’ve set up here with my family. We all live here. We live here in the summer. We live here year-round. I’m very grateful for all the people here. They have taken me in from the very first day, even though I was a Gator. They loved me. I really love the city.”
Back in 2007, the Hawks selected Horford with the third overall pick out of Florida. The versatile big man has played in Atlanta throughout his entire nine-year career in the NBA while putting up solid numbers during his time in a Hawks uniform.
Horford is as consistent as they come at the center position in the NBA. The Florida product has earned back-to-back All-Star honors in Atlanta while averaging nearly identical numbers the last two years.
Horford averaged 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 50.5 percent from the floor and 34.4 from three-point range during the 2015-16 campaign. The 29-year-old center will have no shortage of suitors once he officially hits the open market as an unrestricted free agent on July 1.