The New York Knicks have had all kinds of problems this season, but perhaps their biggest is point guard. Raymond Felton has simply not played up to expectations at all, averaging a career low 10.4 PPG with near career low numbers in assists (5.9), shooting percentage (40.7%), three point percentage (30.4%) and free throw percentage (67.2%). Add in the fact that he is one of the worst defenders in the NBA at the point guard position, and it’s easy to see why he has a career low 12.47 PER and the Knicks want to make a change.
The Knicks have repeatedly been linked Kyle Lowry, but that is a trade that is going to be difficult to pull off. However, the Knicks now have interest in Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. Now in his fifth season, Teague is putting together another solid year for the Hawks, and he has better numbers than Felton in every major statistical category. Teague is also only 25 and signed to a long term deal, so this would be a permanent solution for the Knicks at point guard.
The problem with this potential trade is what the Knicks would give up for Teague. Felton would likely be part of any deal, as the Hawks would use him to hold down the fort until Dennis Schroder is ready to take over. However, the Knicks would still need to entice the Hawks with players or picks to make the trade worth it on their end while making salaries match. The Knicks could trade Tim Hardaway, Jr. or a future first round pick, but is Teague really worth giving up a promising young player or one of the few first rounders the Knicks have left in the near future?
From the Hawks’ perspective, the Knicks don’t have the expiring contracts they’d want in return, and Teague has been very valuable to them. The Hawks also matched the offer sheet Teague signed with the Milwaukee Bucks over the summer, meaning that Teague has the right of first refusal on a trade. The Hawks are currently in 5th place in the East, and it’s not easy to see how they would get better this year or in the future through this deal.
All in all, there seems to be too many obstacles for this trade to happen. Teague would obviously be an upgrade at point guard for the Knicks, but not to the point that it’s worth giving up one of their few promising young players or first round picks, as well as cutting into their 2015 cap space. This deal just doesn’t make enough sense for either side, and it sounds like a rumor that will never become more than that.