There have been swirling rumors that the Hawks could possibly be looking to break up their core before the February 18th trade deadline. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Kevin Arnovitz confirmed the rumors and then things got even more interesting. Hawks’ starting point guard Jeff Teague deleted all of his Hawks related Instagram posts and reportedly put his Atlanta penthouse up for sale.
It seemed like not a matter of if Teague was going to be traded but to where. Several teams such Knicks, Jazz, Pacers and Magic made reported efforts to acquire the all-star point guard, but Atlanta has yet to pull the trigger on anything. Things got even weirder when Teague took to Instagram to show him and some of his Hawks teammates playing UNO, with the caption reading “Uno cures all”.
This situation has brewing since before the start of the season when Atlanta’s backup point guard, Dennis Schroder, made it clear he wants to start. Schroder has shown great potential over the last two seasons and looks to be the point guard of the future, so it is no surprise Atlanta is open to shopping Teague who is signed through the 2016-2017 season.
While Teague seems to be the most likely to be traded before the deadline, he was not the only Hawk mentioned in trade rumors. Brian Windhorst mentioned that Atlanta is listening to offers for both Al Horford and Kyle Korver as well. Horford is in the last year of his contract, and the Hawks may be looking to get something in return for fear that he will cost too much money in the offseason. Korver has seen significant dropoffs in his shooting numbers, but still has been a productive player for Atlanta and will draw a lot of interest from teams around the association.
Windhorst also made it clear that this is NOT an attempt for the Hawks to rebuild. Atlanta is looking for pieces to win now. The Hawks are currently the worst team in terms of rebounding margin and could be without backup center Tiago Splitter for a significant amount of time. Atlanta could be looking for a better rebounding presence and is willing to part ways with Jeff Teague, Al Horford or both.
There is no doubt the Hawks have underachieved this season, and Atlanta will make a move before the deadline. It is simple, this core group of guys is not good enough to be considered serious contenders. Both Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder’s contracts come to an end after next season, and it has become pretty obvious that Dennis Schroder is Atlanta’s future point guard. Jeff Teague has a team friendly contract that could bring in a lot of value in return. The Hawks could look to upgrade in the paint or at the shooting guard position.
Horford is less likely to be moved, but I believe it is still a high possibility. He is in the middle of one of his worst statistical years and has clearly hindered the Hawks on the boards. His contract is up at the end of this season, and there are several teams interested in acquiring his services. If Korver were to be moved it would likely be in a trade centered around Teague or Horford.
Coach Mike Budenholzer holds all the power as the coach and the President of Basketball Operations for the Hawks. He has the nearly impossible task of trying to look towards the future and coach his team to the playoffs at the same time. Atlanta has the legitimate option of just standing pat, but it would shock me if the Hawks do not make a move before the deadline.