NBA All-Star Weekend came and went without much drama, but with the NBA returning to action tomorrow night, the race to the trade deadline is officially on. For the New York Knicks, that means there may be a number of rumors circulating about them. From Carmelo Anthony’s future to Mike Woodson’s job status to roster upgrades, the Knicks figure to be a big part of this year’s deadline.
Marc Stein of ESPN seemed to drop the first bomb of the week and it regards the Knicks:
Jeff Teague, eh? Stein has more:
Jeff Teague is an interesting name for the Knicks for a couple reasons. First and foremost: he’s a young, talented guard with room to grow and improve. For his career, he averages 10 points per game on 44% FG, 32% 3FG, 4.5 assists and 1.1 steals. However, this year, he’s improved his numbers by a lot, despite falling shooting averages, going for 15 points and 7 assists per game. According to Tommy Beer, Teague is only one of seven point guards averaging such numbers this season, and he’s only 25-years old.
Teague is also an interesting name because he has to approve any trade, as per his contract. So, the Knicks and Hawks could theoretically work out a deal, but Teague would have the right to say no. He is also owed $24 million over the next three years, which would obviously eat into the Knicks’ cap space in 2015.
He can score, distribute, and defend well enough, but do the Knicks think he can improve to the point of being the All-Star point guard running mate that Carmelo Anthony needs in the future? Teague’s spotty shooting numbers are also cause for concern. Any point guard that surrounds Anthony needs to be an above-average shooter from downtown, a la Chauncey Billups (which is a reason why Kyle Lowry and his 38.8% 3FG mark would be perfect next to ‘Melo, but alas….).
Keep in mind, Woodson coached Teague his rookie year in Atlanta and hardly ever played him. Woodson certainly doesn’t figure into the Knicks’ long-term plans beyond this season, but if Teague has the right to veto a trade, that, too, could be a cause for concern.
As far as other point guards on the market go, it’s hard to guess who else the Knicks would be eying. Jeremy Lin might not have much of a future in Houston, but would the Knicks really go down that road again? Doubtful. Jameer Nelson could be available, too, and he’d be a nice short-term fit with the Knicks. He’s over 30-years old, but a proven floor general who shoots the three-ball fairly well. Additionally, his contract has a team option for next season, so the Knicks could renounce him, or keep him until 2015 to clear up more cap space.
The problem with almost any of these trades is who the Knicks would send in return. It would obviously make sense to trade Raymond Felton, but Felton is owed money through 2015, so his contract, while cheap, isn’t all that attractive (and that’s saying nothing of his play). Iman Shumpert is most likely on the move in any of these scenarios, but who else do the Knicks have to sweeten the pot? Besides for draft picks, there’s Tim Hardaway Jr., who the team is too fond of to trade, Tyson Chandler, or Jeremy Tyler. If Chandler is involved, it would have to be for another high-salary player, which complicates things.
With the trade deadline coming this Thursday, it’s certainly an active, fluid situation. Check back here to keep abreast on any more NBA trade rumors.
Follow Scott Davis on Twitter.