The Atlanta Hawks continue to float just outside the realm of NBA trade rumors with the deadline on approach. One name many hadn’t thought would come up, though, is point guard Jeff Teague.
Now it has.
With Atlanta perhaps ready to act as sellers at the deadline if things go south in the coming weeks, the Utah Jazz might make sense as a trade partner with names like Trey Burke and Raul Neto making for an odd fit in the backcourt. ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe pondered the idea and potential pieces:
One place the Jazz might look: Atlanta, where it’s starting to feel like the Jeff Teague-Dennis Schroder partnership is approaching its breaking point. Utah won’t deal rotation guys for someone on an expiring deal, and Teague has two years left on his contract. A Burke and Burks package for Teague and filler might work for both teams.
The nugget comes right alongside Yahoo Sports’ Chris Mannix revealing that the Hawks have started to poke around the idea of moving Teague before the deadline:
Hawks had been soliciting offers for Teague or Dennis Schroder, per rival execs. Though recently they have focused more on Teague.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixYS) January 27, 2016
Lowe points out in the post that the Jazz have been on the market for a point guard, and ideally one who can spot up for shots and play solid defense. It’s an obvious need in Utah, really, with so many pieces in the rotation able to handle the ball already while the team waits for high-profile prospect Dante Exum to make his return from injury.
More interesting here, though, would be Atlanta. The Hawks haven’t lived up to expectations, at least not in comparison to what a pretty similar lineup was able to do last year. The Hawks are only 27-19 this year, with the Cleveland Cavaliers sitting pretty at first in the Eastern Conference at 31-12. While the Hawks might want to make a run at first place still, the front office might also feel like it has to figure out what in the world has gone wrong from a chemistry standpoint.
One name to consider would be Al Horford. He’s a free agent after the season anyway and would fetch a nice price on the market. From the sounds of it, though, the front office seems to prefer a focus on the backcourt with Teague and Schroder. Teague’s by and large going to get a better return and free up more cap space for the Hawks in a potential deal. He’s only 27 years old and only has five seasons of more than 14 minutes per game under his belt with career highs in points at 16.5 and assists at 7.2. His numbers are a bit down this year, but that pretty much goes for everyone in Atlanta.
If the Hawks want to unload, Utah looks like a great partner. Whereas a team such as the New York Knicks doesn’t have a ton to offer, the Hawks could nab someone such as Burke and other assets and begin to somewhat retool for the future. The Hawks already look to have plenty of spending money next summer, if not even more than expected depending on what happens with Horford.
The Hawks might be further coerced into trade talks in the coming weeks if the team continues to dabble in mediocrity. Either way, the front office clearly already has a few toes in the water, with the Jazz looking like an ideal partner to take with them on the dive. Given this information getting loose, though, more teams might enter the fray.
One might say the Jeff Teague sweepstakes has just begun.