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Al Horford reportedly values potential fifth year; Hawks asking for "wow" offer

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The Al Horford trade extravaganza is heating up, and the Hawks are in an interesting position.

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Al Horford is a hot commodity on the NBA trade market right now, but the Atlanta Hawks won't make it easy on teams looking to acquire the All-Star big man. Zach Lowe of ESPN weighed in on the Horford conundrum (among various other things that are definitely worth reading) on Tuesday morning, and one of the major takeaways is that Wes Wilcox, Mike Budenholzer and company won't be giving Horford away for pennies on the dollar.

Here is a snippet from Lowe's column:

To put it politely, the league is skeptical this is anything more than a Hawks fishing expedition designed to gin up one crazy offer for Horford. Wes Wilcox, Atlanta's GM, is asking teams to "wow" him, sources say, and no one is biting.

With Horford's stature as a perennial All-Star, it isn't surprising that the Hawks would be seeking a "wow" offer, but with the soon-to-be 30-year-old big man on the brink of free agency, it would take a significant leap of faith for any team to offer a huge package. However, Zach Lowe also drops an interesting nugget about what Al Horford will be valuing when the time comes to negotiate his mega-deal this summer.

People close to Al Horford, another sell-off target about to hit free agency, say he will value that fifth year more than almost every other variable in his free-agency calculus

There has been rampant speculation (including in this space) as to whether the Atlanta Hawks are even prepared to offer Horford a fifth year on a deal that would take him into his mid-30's but, as expected, that is the biggest carrot that the organization can dangle in front of his representatives. Lowe makes reference to Horford "cherishing the continuity Atlanta has built", and there is no denying that Horford acts as a perfect face to a system that values unselfishness and a team-first mantra.

At this juncture in the NBA calendar, every piece of information should be taken with a grain of salt, but the Hawks appear ready to hold on to Al Horford unless the price is right for a landscape-changing trade in the next 48 hours. Stay tuned.