NBA trade rumors are suggesting that the Atlanta Hawks might be willing to trade their trio of All Star players (Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, and Al Horford) from last season at the trade deadline later on this month, according to ESPN. Management is currently trying to decide if they want to financially invest in a team that will contend, but never win, an NBA Championship, or start from scratch.
The middle of the pack is a dreaded place for NBA general managers and coaches. It’s where you’re too good to be in a position to draft a talented rookie, such as Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks, that will inspired an entire fan base and give them hope. It’s also where you’re not good enough to truly win the NBA Championship, even if you’re perennially playing in the playoffs.
That’s the position that the Atlanta Hawks find themselves in. Mike Budenholzer, who operates as both the head coach and president of basketball operations, has a very tough decision to make in regards to that position. While he certainly does not want the fan base to suffer through another rebuilding period, Budenholzer needs to figure out if his talented team can some day beat the Cleveland Cavaliers and represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.
If he decides within the next two weeks that the Atlanta Hawks need to be rebuilt, then Mike Budenholzer can expect to be bombarded with phone calls from rival NBA executives because the interest level will be very high for Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, and Al Horford. All three of them are players that could end up being the final piece for another contending team in the National Basketball Association.
Jeff Teague has already sparked interest within the NBA. Several teams, including the New York Knicks, have been linked to the 27-year-old point guard. Knicks president Phil Jackson desperately wants to upgrade his back court, and if he does not want to wait for Russell Westbrook, then Teague would provide him with the immediate upgrade over Jose Calderon and rookie Jerian Grant.
Kyle Korver is one of the best shooters in the NBA, and just about every head coach utilizes an offensive system that requires someone that can light it up from beyond the three point line. The Cleveland Cavaliers can shorten the gap behind the Golden State Warriors if they had Korver spreading the floor for them. Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Kevin Love would not need to worry about sagging defenses as much in that scenario.
Al Horford has already proven that he can be the franchise player for an NBA team that wishes to go deep into the playoffs. However, some believe that he can be even more dominant if he were the second or third star on the team. A humble player like him could be the replacement for Blake Griffin and enable the Los Angeles Clippers to build their team around Chris Paul, Horford, and DeAndre Jordan.
Interestingly enough, there’s been no mention of the Atlanta Hawks trading Paul Millsap, who has slowly and quietly become one of the hardest players in the NBA to play against. He’s the perfect puzzle piece for the unselfish offensive scheme that Mike Budenholzer implemented when he took over as head coach. Keeping Millsap around means that the Hawks don’t need to go into full rebuilding mode, and can reload quickly enough that they become relevant in the NBA again.
[Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]