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Al Horford Holding Off on Contract Negotiations to Avoid Distraction

Al Horford is set to be a free agent in 2016, but the Atlanta Hawks big man isn’t going to negotiate a new contract until after the upcoming season. While Horford is tabling negotiations, he told Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated that he’s happy in Atlanta and just doesn’t want to create any distractions:

For me, I’m very happy in Atlanta. It’s one of those things where I don’t want any contract talks to be a distraction for my team and me. I feel like my focus this year is for us to build and be better. Since we can’t do anything right now, we’ll wait until the season’s over and then we can start talking about all that.

Horford is set to earn $12 million in the last year of a five-year, $60 million deal. With the cap going up next summer, he’ll be due a huge raise, and the Hawks will likely be happy to give it to him. The 29-year-old was arguably the most important player on Atlanta’s 60-win squad that reached the Eastern Conference Finals last season, averaging 15.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists while providing strong defense. He posted similar numbers in the postseason.

There are some injury concerns with Horford, as he’s had two seasons cut short by a torn pectoral muscle. But as long as he stays healthy, there’s little reason to believe he won’t get a max contract next summer, whether that’s from Atlanta or another team.

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