Atlanta Hawks Rumors: Brandon Jennings Could Be Acquired In Sign-And-Trade

By A.J. Speier
Brandon Jennings
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

When the Atlanta Hawks decided to sign Paul Millsap over Josh Smith, it became the second time that the Hawks would be entering a new season without their leading scorer.

With Millsap, the Hawks are getting a 28-year-old player who has proven to be an efficient scorer with his mid-range jumper but was never thought of as the primary scoring threat with the Utah Jazz. During Millsap’s seven-year career, he has made 51.6 percent of his shots from the field but averaged just 12.4 points per game.

Unless the Hawks decide to change Millsap’s role in their offense, the Hawks will need to find another scoring threat to complement their superstar center Al Horford.

Other moves made so far this offseason for the Hawks include solidifying their small forward position by signing a 3-point specialist in Kyle Korver and a defensive specialist in DeMarre Carroll. The Hawks also selected Dennis Schroeder and Lucas Noguiera in the 2013 NBA Draft, but it is unknown whether they’ll have an impact this season or remain overseas.

Despite the three spots in the front court seemingly set as far as starters go, the Hawks still need to address their back court which starts with figuring out who is going to run their offense. Currently, the Hawks have Lou Williams and John Jenkins under contract, but neither player can be counted on as a point guard.

The Hawks extended a $6 million qualifying offer to restricted free agent Jeff Teague, but to this point they have yet to begin contract negotiations with him. As a result Teague has grown frustrated and rumors have begun to surface about a possible sign-and-trade to the Milwaukee Bucks, where he would be playing under his former head coach, Larry Drew.

In order to facilitate a sign-and-trade for Teague, the Hawks would need to receive some sort of compensation in return, and the likelihood is that the Bucks would either give up their rights to restricted free agent Brandon Jennings or the Bucks could help make a potential Hawks signing of Monta Ellis easier.

If the teams decide to swap restricted free agents, the Hawks would get a 23-year-old Jennings, who has already established himself as a primary scorer on a team without a strong supporting cast. Jennings averaged 17 points per game over a four-year career with players like Carlos Delfino, Andrew Bogut, Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

Jennings would be an immediate fit as a scoring threat, but like Smith, he has a habit of taking a bad shot selection, shooting a career 39.4 percent from the field. With a new head coach, system, surrounding cast and him being so young, his potential is very high and could be worth the gamble.

As for keeping Teague, the Hawks need to figure out if they think he’s part of their long-term future. For the past four years, he’s had a small role as a distributor surrounded by talent like Smith, Horford, Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford. He had a career season this past year, averaging 14.6 points and 7.2 assists per game.

The ideal scenario is to have Teague sign the qualifying offer. With the money left over, the Hawks would have enough to bring in Ellis and would give them a roster capable of contending for this year. Teague would be asked to distribute with Ellis on the court and Ellis could switch to point guard when the Hawks want to put Williams on the court for scoring help.

Follow A.J. Speier on Twitter @Ajbisons for articles, news, and all things NBA

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