The New York Knicks have been reported to be in the search for help at the point guard position leading up to the Feb. 20 NBA Trade Deadline with Raymond Felton visibly struggling with his effectiveness for most of the season. The name that’s being thrown around as a possible target of the Knicks is Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague, per reports from Marc Stein of ESPN.
After being a key cog in New York’s high-powered offense last season, Felton has slowed tremendously this year. His numbers have dropped almost universally—though his assists have increased slightly—most notably his three-point percentage dropping from 36 percent last season to 30.4 percent this year. Moreover, it appears that Felton’s conditioning, which has been an issue for him in the past, may once again be becoming a problem.
It’s no wonder that the Knicks would be interested in Teague, though. Not only do the Knicks want someone that can be more effective than Felton, but Teague has played well and still has what many perceive as untapped potential as a point guard in this league. Teague’s averages of 15.6 points and 7.2 assists per game on just 41.2 percent shooting and 25.6 percent three-point shooting this season aren’t staggering by any means, but he’s done a fantastic job of producing and leading the Hawks since Al Horford went down for the rest of the year.
In regards to a potential trade, though, a deal seems unlikely to happen. Stein later pointed out that Teague has the right to block a trade if he sees fit, which could be a possible snag for the Knicks. Moreover, Teague is signed through the 2016-17 season, which would cut into New York’s cap-flexibility that they’ve been looking forward to in the summer of 2015, another possible issue that Stein brought to the forefront.
More than all of this, though, it’s hard for me to imagine the Hawks wanting to give up on the team that they’ve been building by dealing Teague. This is a team likely bound for the playoffs this season without their best player—Teague being a big reason why—and I’d doubt they’d want to blow up their core without seeing how far they can when they’re at full health. Acquiring Teague would be beautiful for the Knicks, but it doesn’t seem likely to happen before Thursday.