They let Josh Smith walk, which is cool. I was exhausted from writing about him, them and the rift that existed-but-didn’t-really-exist-except-it-did-exist between them.
Snagging Paul Millsap was more than fine by me, too. He’s a talented forward who, with a little grooming, could evolve into an ideal Stretch 4. With him, they were in business in the frontcourt. Who needs J-Smoove? All that was left for them to do was re-sign Jeff Teague and call it one more mediocre playoff run.
Normally, I wouldn’t be alright with them chasing a mediocre playoff finish, because that’s all they do. Atlanta is a perennially middling team, which is sad. Even sadder than that, however, would be letting a promising young point man like Teague walk.
Naturally, that’s just what the Hawks seem prepared to do.
The Milwaukee Bucks offered Teague a four-year, $32 million contract, and he’s taking it, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Restricted free agent guard Jeff Teague plans to sign a four-year, $32 million-plus offer sheet with Milwaukee, league sources tell Y!
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 11, 2013
No worries, though. Teague is a restricted free agent. The Hawks can match it. Only, that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.
Per Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Teague himself believes its time to move on.
From Teague: "I enjoyed by time there. They are going in a different direction. I’m going in a different direction. It’s time to move on.”
— Chris Vivlamore (@ajchawks) July 11, 2013
Can’t say I blame him entirely. Presented with a better opportunity, I’d want to escape the clutches of Average Joe basketball if I could too.
Only he’s fleeing for Milwaukee, where championship aspirations go to die. I get that Larry Drew, former head coach of the Hawks, is now over there, but seriously? Milwaukee?
The thought of Teague playing alongside O.J. Mayo is beyond intriguing, and he’ll have a nice offensive option in Ersa Ilyasova to be excited about as well, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around this one.
More importantly, I’m trying to figure out how the Hawks don’t match this offer. That’s a reasonable contract. Beyond reasonable. Eight million annually for your starting point guard? Hell, Jeremy Lin takes home more than that.
Last season, Teague was one of only six players to average at least 16 points, seven assists and 1.5 steals per 36 minutes. The others were Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Manu Ginobili, Jrue Holiday and Ty Lawson. Still, the Hawks seem prepared to let him walk.
Truthfully, that may have to do with his open desire to leave more than anything. Perhaps they didn’t show him the right amount of appreciation throughout this process—those Brandon Jennings trade rumors sure didn’t help any—or something. Whatever the reason, Teague seems hell-bent on leaving.
“I’m nervous,” Teague said of the waiting game which will play out until Atlanta makes its decision, according to Charles F. Gardner of The Journal Sentinel. “I really want to be here. I thank Milwaukee for giving me this opportunity and taking a chance on me.”
The Hawks could still take a chance themselves by matching Teague’s offer, but that could get messy. This all reeks like the Eric Gordon-New Orleans Hornets (Pelicans) debacle of last year. Teague wants to leave Atlanta, just like Gordon wanted to leave New Orleans. The Hornets didn’t grant Gordon his wish, but will the Hawks oblige and let Teague walk?
Knowing them, yes, they will.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.