When the NBA free agency period begins on July 1, the Atlanta Hawks will have 12 guaranteed roster spots to fill, but none will be more important than figuring out who the starting point guard is going to be.
With roughly $40 million in cap room to spend, the Hawks will have plenty of options. But bringing back Jeff Teague could be the smartest choice.
While the top free agency prize is clearly Chris Paul, the Hawks are not the only team interested in bringing him in and the possible Los Angeles Clippers-Boston Celtics trade could ruin any chance of him leaving Los Angeles.
Teague will be a much cheaper alternative and at 25 years old, he is coming off of the best season of his career, averaging 14.6 points, 7.2 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game.
The Hawks are going to need a point guard that is similar to Tony Parker to run their new offense and Teague would the fit the role perfectly with his fast-paced style play and his creative passing.
Assuming Teague doesn’t get offered a maximum contract like Roy Hibbert did this past offseason, the Hawks will be able to bring in other big name free agents to pair with him and Al Horford. Aside from landing Paul, other free agents that have been linked to the Hawks include Dwight Howard, Andre Iguodala, Josh Smith and Monta Ellis.
Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has yet to specify his team’s plans for restricted free agents Teague and Ivan Johnson, but said he’ll determine their fates following the NBA Draft. The Hawks have two first round picks at No. 17 and No. 18.
“[There’s] nothing to really say about it,” Ferry said. “We are focused on the draft right now obviously. Our roster and our team decisions will unfold after that but certainly we value the guys we had on our roster last year. We’ll look at all the opportunities that are out there for us going forward as well.”
The Hawks have until June 30 to make a qualifying offer to Teague and Johnson and until July 23 to pull a qualifying offer off the table to clear cap space.