The New York Knicks have been one of the teams most expected to make a deal before the NBA’s trade deadline hits this week. Linked previously to players such as Kyle Lowry, Kenneth Faried, and of course Rajon Rondo, the Knicks could have a new name in mind: Atlanta’s Jeff Teague.
According to Mark Stein, Teague is just the latest in a long line of players that have the Knicks’ interest. ESPN’s Ian Begley also confirms the report, but adds that Teague could actually be headed to Toronto as part of a three-year deal.
It’s widely known that New York has been trying to upgrade their backcourt and Teague would help to accomplish that. He isn’t yet an All-Star but could be on the cusp of making the midseason team in the next year or two if he keeps improving. Teague is averaging career-highs in points (15.6) and assists (7.2) this year and while his shooting has been spotty at best – the 25-year old guard is making only 41 percent of his shots – Teague would instantly give the Knicks’ backcourt a much-needed infusion of talent.
One potential pitfall to the deal is that Teague would need to approve such a trade based on his current deal. His contract is manageable as he’s currently in the first year of a four-year $32 million deal. For a budding star who could turn into a 20-point per night scorer, it’s not a bad contract. It would give the Knicks less cap space to work with down the line, but Teague would be a significant asset.
In addition to securing Teague’s rubber stamp on the deal, the sticking point would what the Knicks would have to give up, of course. The Knicks have reportedly shopped players like Iman Shumpert and Beno Udrih for much of the season, and not having found any takers just yet in a deal that suits them, one has to wonder just how much interest there is in the league for each player. A package of one or even both likely won’t cut it here and Atlanta could have their sights set on a player with more upside like Tim Hardaway, Jr. — one of the few young players they have that has drawn considerable interest.
The Hawks seem willing to deal their young star, but the amount the Knicks need to give up coupled with the amount of money still owed to Teague might be enough to send them looking elsewhere.