Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
The Rumor: According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the New York Knicks are intrigued by Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague.
The Verdict: Buy
Update: Tuesday, Feb. 18
Per Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks "are expected to pass on Teague," as the move would eat into their prized cap space for the 2015 offseason.
---End of update---
We know the Knicks have a history of being linked to names that can't realistically be acquired due to their lack of assets, but I don't necessarily think that's the case here.
If New York were willing to give up some combination of a future first-round pick, cap filler and someone like Iman Shumpert for Teague, you would certainly think that the Hawks would be willing to listen.
The potentially appealing thing about Teague for the Knicks is that he's on a long-term deal and not a rental, unlike another coveted target, Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry. Teague is still young with the potential to improve, and he's clearly a substantial upgrade over Raymond Felton at this point. This would help the Knicks for the playoffs, which in turn could help keep Carmelo Anthony.
Although there's a risk in taking on any long-term deal, Teague has proven to be a solid point guard in the league who can use his speed to get into the paint. That's something New York has desperately lacked this year, so on the floor, at least, it's a good fit.
In terms of assets, the fit might be another story for New York, but I'm buying that Teague is a feasible acquisition for the Knicks. If Atlanta is convinced that Teague isn't the point guard of the future, it might not be out of the question for him to be dealt for future cap flexibility, a young wing player and a draft pick down the line. Unlike a deal for Rajon Rondo, this feels much more realistic.