Al Horford is officially headed to Boston to join the Celtics, and the Atlanta Hawks are left searching for a “Plan B” for both the present and future. However, the Hawks can potentially look inward when it comes to placing the blame for Horford’s departure.
While Boston offered the full, four-max contract to Horford (which he eventually accepted), Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports that Atlanta’s offer fell short of the maximum level over a five-year period.
Hawks offer to Al Horford topped out at $136 million over 5 years, sources said.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 2, 2016
In addition, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical brings further detail, including the fact that the Hawks and Horford were separated in terms of financial commitment by only $6 million total over five seasons.
Sources: Tremendous momentum for Hawks in final hours, w/ Horford returning and giving Hawks chance. In end, Hawks, Horford $6M total apart.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 2, 2016
Hawks believed Horford's heart was with them, would accept last offer. Horford dropped demand of full 5-year max but sides never closed gap.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 2, 2016
As noted by Wojnarowski, Horford appears to have simply drawn a line in the sand in terms of the negotiations, and Atlanta’s unwillingness to budge sent him packing for Boston.
On one hand, the Hawks deserve some level of “credit” for their financial restraint, but in the same breath, it will be hard for the fan base to swallow the pill of knowing Horford is playing for a rival over a difference of only $1.2 million per season.