This is the golden age of NBA point guards, the field has never been deeper with quality, but there are still plenty of teams that could use a good one.
Like Jeff Teague, the Hawks All-Star whose numbers have taken a small step back this season (14.3 points and 5.6 assists per game, still shooting 41.3 percent from three. He’s still impressive off the pick-and-roll, still a strong floor general, and still a decent defender. He’s fought through ankle injuries this season, which has hurt his numbers, but he’s still a good point guard.
And he’s available via trade. Not cheaply, but available. Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports tweeted this out Tuesday:
Zach Lowe expanded on that at ESPN (in a story mostly about the Utah Jazz):
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…. That’s a dicey deal. Atlanta wants to make another run at Cleveland, and it has had major trust issues internally with Schroder.
That last sentence is the big bet by the Hawks in all of this — is Schroder ready to be a full-time starter and carry a team like the Hawks deep in the playoffs? This season the Hawks are 10.8 points per 100 possessions when Schroder’s is on the court, while they are -2.2 per 100 when Teague is on the court. There’s a lot of noise in those numbers, but Schroder looks like the future.
The other question hanging over this move: Will Al Horford be back next season? He’s an unrestricted free agent, the Hawks want to keep him but he will receive multiple max offers and have options. If the Hawks get the sense Horford is going to bolt, then there is a bit of a roster rebuild coming and getting value for Teague could help speed that process along.
One team that will be interested — the New York Knicks.
It’s unlikely a deal gets done until closer to the All-Star break, if at all. But there is more than just smoke with the Teague trade rumors, this has actual fire.