The 2015-16 NBA season has passed its halfway point. With the trade deadline looming, some big changes seem to be on the horizon, as rumors swirl around the status of players both current and former.
Some big names could be on the move in the next few weeks, and some bigger names might come back to the court as coaches. Here's the latest news.
Jazz in on Jeff Teague
According to Yahoo Sports' Chris Mannix on Jan. 27, the Atlanta Hawks are listening to offers for point guard Jeff Teague.
On Sunday, Andy Larsen of KSL.com reported that the Utah Jazz are interested in trading for Teague.
The point guard is one of the more underrated players in the league, coming off his first All-Star game selection last season. Over the past four seasons, Teague has averaged at least 14.5 points and 5.5 assists per game, though he is experiencing a down season of sorts in 2015-16.
Most of his struggles have come on defense. According to ESPN.com, his Real Plus-Minus went from 0.95 last season, good for seventh among all point guards in the league, to minus-2.16 and 66th this year.
It would be interesting to see how he would fare on a Jazz team that prides itself on defense.
At 21-25, the Jazz are still in touching distance of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. They use a platoon at point guard with Raul Neto and Trey Burke, who combine for 17.9 points per game and 5.1 assists, but a player like Teague could ignite Utah's offense, which is ranked 25th in the league.
The Hawks, according to Larsen, would most likely be looking for help on the wings, as Kyle Korver and Kent Bazemore haven't cut it this season. That means they would call for the likes of Gordon Hayward or Rodney Hood in return for Teague.
It's doubtful the Jazz would be willing to part with Hayward. He is one of their most valuable players and embodies the type of game the Jazz play when it comes to a complete effort on both offense and defense.
Utah will have competition for Teague. Shortly after rumors of his availability surfaced, Mannix reported on CSN New England that the Celtics also showed interest in the point guard. Whoever pieces together the right deal and acquires Teague will be getting one of the brightest point guards in the league in the prime of his career.
Magic Could Shake Things Up, Deal Channing Frye
The Orlando Magic did not have a good January. That's putting it nicely, too.
After going 2-12 in the month, league sources have told Sporting News' Sean Deveney that the Magic could be very busy in the weeks before the trade deadline.
One name that has been popping up is forward Channing Frye, as "multiple inquiries" have come in for the 32-year-old.
An NBA executive spoke with Deveney on Frye: "He’s one of the names I think you hear a lot and you will hear a lot more about before the deadline. His contract is not that bad, and he could help a contender, and it looks like they’re moving on from him. There’s a lot of interest there."
Frye is in his second year of a four-year, $32 million deal and is expected to make over $15 million over the next two seasons according to Spotrac.
He's a valuable veteran presence on a very young Magic roster that has an average age of 24.9 years old according to RealGM. Frye is just one of three players on the Magic's roster over 27 and has played the most minutes out of Jason Smith and C.J. Watson.
On pace for his worst season since 2008-09, Frye is averaging 5.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game this year. He seems like a placeholder for the young Aaron Gordon, who is starting to acclimate to life in the NBA after being drafted fourth overall in 2014.
In his second year in the league, Gordon is averaging 7.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game off the bench.
NBA TV shows the kind of athleticism the 20-year-old has:
NBA TV @NBATV
.@Double0AG led the @OrlandoMagic to victory last night. Oh, and he had this sweet putback dunk! https://t.co/yIYlbbVu2M2/1/2016, 2:00:13 PM
The more Gordon succeeds, the less Frye will be needed in Orlando, which won't warrant his receiving $15 million over the next two seasons. Dealing him will free up some space and continue to build the Magic's young roster and develop them into Eastern Conference contenders.
Could Steve Nash Return?
Not even 24 hours after the firing of head coach Jeff Hornacek, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Phoenix Suns' open vacancy was linked to a familiar face.
ESPN's Marc Stein was told by sources that the Suns "have strong interest" in former point guard Steve Nash. Nash was quick to silence those rumors though, saying that wasn't ready to take on a coaching job.
After a 39-win season last year, the Suns are 14-35 in 2015-16, and their style of play under Hornacek didn't look like that of an NBA-level unit.
"They don’t run much of anything,” a scout told Mannix. “It’s five guys, spread them out and try to beat you with basic stuff. It’s like watching an AAU game.”
While their offense looked simple, their defense looked porous, allowing 106.5 points per game. Only the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings have allowed more.
Nash, who is currently a part-time consultant for the Golden State Warriors, spent the best years of his career with the Suns. He won two MVP awards with the team and was voted to six All-Star teams in 10 years in Phoenix.
He is third on the NBA's all-time list in assists, and his running the Suns offense could open things up immensely for them. During his time in the NBA, he was one of the most intelligent players on the floor and could get the most out of any offense he ran.
It just doesn't look like the timing is right for the Suns and Nash. If he is not interested in taking over in Phoenix, then the Suns' search must continue for a viable option who is actually willing to turn things around for the struggling franchise.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com
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