Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks

Report: Hawks not thinking Ellis/Jennings, deciding whether to match Teague offer


The second that Jeff Teague signed a four-year, $32 million offer sheet with Milwaukee Bucks — something that was agreed to last night but may not have been formally signed until this morning according to some reports — he could no longer be signed and traded.

Which means the days of discussions between the Hawks and Bucks about a potential sign-and-trade involving either Monta Ellis or Brandon Jennings for Teague were toast.

So the Hawks have moved on, past Ellis and Jennings, to the question of whether to match the offer or not, reports Chris Broussard of ESPN.

If the Hawks let him walk they could still land Jennings or Ellis via free agency. Jennings is a restricted free agent (meaning the Bucks could match an offer, although if they get Teague it is unlikely). Ellis has fired his agent as a result of his not finding a good landing spot on the open market (remember he turned down three years, $36 million from the Bucks to see what the market would offer him, and it’s not been pretty.

If I were the Hawks I would match. Jennings is tempting because he is so much more athletic than Teague, but he doesn’t finish well when he does get in the lane, he settles for too many bad shots, and he is a disinterested defender. Teague can be unspectacular but he makes better decisions, assisted on a higher percentage of his teammates shots, and Teague is more effective on the defensive end.

We’ll see what the Hawks will do.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.