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Could New York Knicks Trade for Atlanta Hawks’ Jeff Teague?

February 18th, 2014 at 8:00 AM
By Matt Agne

There are clearly plenty of players underperforming on this season's New York Knicks team. However, perhaps the most underperforming player on this year's roster is starting point guard Raymond Felton. Instead of helping to lead the Knicks back to an Atlantic Division title, he's instead established himself as one of the worst starting point guards in the league. Could the Knicks find a way to trade for Atlanta Hawks' point guard Jeff Teague and finally have a starter at the one who isn't a liability?

'Jeff Teague' photo (c) 2013, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Raymond Felton isn't the worst player in the world. In fact, he has the skills to be one of the best backup point guards in the NBA. However, as a starting point guard he's one of the weakest in the league. That weakness has been a major problem for the New York Knicks. One that they are attempting to fix before the NBA deadline passes on February 20.

Marc Stein of ESPN reports that one of the point guards the Knicks are looking to acquire is Jeff Teague from the Atlanta Hawks.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Knicks, leading into Thursday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, are calling all over the league in an attempt to upgrade at point guard.

Teague's name has surfaced as a prime target given the Knicks' increasing fears that their longstanding top choice — Toronto's Kyle Lowry – will not be made available before the deadline, according to sources.

Teague's name has thus surfaced as a prime alternative, provided that the Hawks are willing to part with him.

While the Knicks would clearly still like to get Kyle Lowry from the Toronto Raptors it's become more likely that they keep him and continue to chase the Atlantic Division title.

However, Jeff Teague is definitely available. He's not only available, he'd be a clear cut upgrade to Felton. This season Teague's having a career year averaging 15.6 points and 7.2 assists per game, both well above his career averages.

It's clear that Teague could be a huge upgrade for the Knicks. However, do they have enough to land him in a trade? The Knicks have almost no first-round draft picks to trade. They also have limited trade assets on their roster.

'Jeff Teague' photo (c) 2013, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ Making a trade for Teague could cost the Knicks players such as Iman Shumpert or Tim Hardaway Jr., in addition to others. However, they'd be acquiring a player under contractual control. Teague has three seasons left on a four-year, $32 million contract. The downfall to that is it would cut into the Knicks' 2015 salary-cap space.

Teague isn't the kind of player that will bring a championship to New York after being added to Carmelo Anthony. However, adding Teague would certainly be a positive when in comes to convincing Anthony to stay with the Knicks. 

Another obstacle to adding Teague to the mix could be Teague himself. Because he signed an offer sheet with the Milwaukee Bucks last summer as a restricted free agent that was matched by the Hawks, Teague has the right to dictate if he's traded or not through mid-July. However, the chance to play with Anthony could be enough to convince Teague to okay the move to New York.

In the end, the Knicks are likely to fall into the same problems they have with every other trade attempt thus far. They simply don't have desirable assets to trade and the ones they do they'd rather keep. That being said, it's nice to see the Knicks trying to improve the roster and put Felton where he belongs — either on the bench or on another roster.

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Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Basketball, Carmelo Anthony, Iman Shumpert, Jeff Teague, Kyle Lowry, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Raymond Felton, Tim Hardaway Jr., Toronto Raptors

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