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Al Horford speaks highly of Atlanta as free agency looms

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Free agency won't arrive until July, but it's never too early to overreact to quotes.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Al Horford is one of the top free agents on the NBA market in the summer of 2016, and with the Atlanta Hawks bowing out of the playoffs over the weekend, the temperature will only get hotter with regard to speculation about his future plans. While it is still (far) too early to get a serious lean on the thoughts of any pending free agent, Horford was asked about his plans in the aftermath of Game 4, and he gently passed on the topic as you may expect.

However, Horford did weigh in on his thoughts about the City of Atlanta, and here is what he had to say, per Chris Vivlamore of the AJC:

"It means a lot. 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."

This will certainly be a quote that fans will hold onto when hoping for a return from Horford, and if nothing else, it is nice to see the big man speaking highly of the community where he has spent his entire NBA career. It must be noted that these comments are made in the heat of the moment following a brutal series loss, though, and in the same breath, Horford will be weighing multiple max offers from the moment free agency opens on July 1.

The debate will rage in the coming days as to whether the Hawks should retain Al Horford by any means necessary (especially with regard to a five-year max contract), but for now, Atlanta's fan base can take solace in the fact that the team may have an inherent advantage beyond simple financial figures.