Al Horford will continue to be an Atlanta Hawk

Dan Devine

It's officially Smile Time for Al Horford(notes) and, one would suspect, multitudes of fans of the Atlanta Hawks.

As first reported by Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Horford and the Hawks have agreed to a five year, $60 million contract extension that will keep the All-Star center in the ATL through 2015-16.

The agreement makes Horford just the third member of the Class of '07 to receive an extension. In July, the Oklahoma City Thunder inked Kevin Durant(notes), the No. 2 overall selection in the 2007 draft, to a five-year max-level extension worth a reported $85 million. Last month, the Chicago Bulls locked up Joakim Noah(notes), the No. 9 pick, for five years and $60 million.

Timing was most definitely of the essence for the Hawks, Horford and agent Arn Tellem — if a deal hadn't gotten done by the midnight Eastern time deadline for extending 2007 first-round picks, Horford would have become a restricted free agent after this season. But an agreement is reportedly in place, and as Cunningham reports, Horford's pretty stoked:

'It happened like I've been predicting — down to the wire,' Horford said today after practice. 'When we finally kind of agreed on everything, I was super excited.'

Well, yeah. You're going to get $60 million. No doy you're excited.

The Hawks should be thrilled, too. They were able to keep an important piece of their core — an emerging star and fan favorite who can score around the basket, defend elite bigs and has a winner's pedigree that dates back to his days at the University of Florida — and they didn't even have to sign him to the worst contract in league history to do it. Like I said: Smile Time, all the way.