NBA teams have already begun wheeling and dealing, which means the 2016 offseason is officially underway.
This isn't some minor swap.
A lottery pick is involved, giving the Hawks two of the 2016 NBA draft's first 21 choices and pushing them closer to full-fledged rebuilding. So too are a pair of floor generals who are legitimate starters during the Association's golden age of 1-guards; they're both traveling to organizations that expect playoff success next year.
But that doesn't mean everyone is getting a strong grade for its involvement.
Sending: Jeff Teague
Receiving: No. 12 pick in 2016 NBA draft
This franchise seems to be accepting that it can't keep treading water in upper-tier mediocrity any longer; trading away a good—but not great—point guard opens other doors.
Dennis Schroder now has a chance to strut his stuff in a bigger role. The lightning-quick point guard has always been a solid spark plug off the bench, but he's at his best when allowed to operate with no fear of being sent back to the pine.
There's no longer any doubt this team belongs to him, and he should improve accordingly. Schroder was always the future of the Atlanta backcourt, but trading Teague before he plays out the final year of his contract maximizes the return for the 28-year-old and imbues his younger counterpart with even more confidence.
Atlanta also gets its hands on the No. 12 pick in Thursday's draft, which allows it to make two first-round selections and add significantly more upside to the roster. Or, as ESPN's Marc Stein reported, it could shop both picks and either move up even higher in the proceedings or land an established commodity who fits better than Teague.
Either way, this deal provides the ability to take risks on high-ceiling players and fill additional needs on the wings and in the frontcourt.
Teague would've helped the Hawks remain near the top of the Eastern Conference during regular seasons. Trading him gives Atlanta the chance to take a step backward and make a subsequent leap forward, so long as it capitalizes on its extra opportunity in the first round.
Sending: George Hill
Receiving: Jeff Teague
Switching Hill for Teague just isn't guaranteed to work out, even if the latter likes to play faster, so this is, at best, a lateral move. Even if the Pacers sign Teague to a contract extension, as Wojnarowski reported they're attempting to do, the veteran point guard is only two years younger than Hill and not that much better, if at all.
According to NBA Math's total points added database, it was actually Hill who had the superior campaign leading up to this swap:
Teague's quickness does make him a fit in Indiana's desired uptempo schemes, but that won't prevent other problems from emerging. Though NBA.com's SportVU data shows Teague finished in the 98.4 percentile as a spot-up shooter, those plays accounted for just 10.3 percent of his offense. He's a ball-dominant player who is at his best when controlling the offense.
Hill, on the other hand, spotted up on 19.8 percent of his possessions.
Maybe Teague can develop into more of a playmaker, but it's tough to see the Pacers avoiding an adjustment period if he's asked to share the court with both Monta Ellis and Paul George. Plus, as Bleacher Report's Dan Favale pointed out, defense could be another issue:
Teague is a sieve on the point-preventing end, and Ellis isn't the most disciplined player either. No one can cover up for both of them, and that's bound to put a load of pressure on the young shoulders of Myles Turner as he attempts to protect the paint.
Sending: No. 12 pick in 2016 NBA draft
Receiving: George Hill
The Utah Jazz are firmly in win-now mode.
Though rumors swirl around Gordon Hayward, their roster could be just about finalized for the 2016-17 campaign. Unless they choose to release one of their three non-guaranteed players (Shelvin Mack, Chris Johnson and Jeff Withey), they already have enough bodies under team control, and the depth chart looks terrifying:
|Utah Jazz's Projected Depth Chart for 2016-17|
|Point Guard||Shooting Guard||Small Forward||Power Forward||Center|
|George Hill||Rodney Hood||Gordon Hayward||Derrick Favors||Rudy Gobert|
|Shelvin Mack||Dante Exum||Alec Burks||Trey Lyles||Jeff Withey|
|Trey Burke||Raul Neto||Chris Johnson||Tibor Pleiss|
The defensive acumen of that team is overwhelming, and the Jazz should be considered a serious postseason threat if they can stay healthy. Their win total masked their abilities this past go-round, as they finished No. 10 in simple rating system, which looks solely at margin of victory and strength of schedule.
Even treading water would have put them in the playoff picture. Now, they'll get to guard pick-and-roll sets with Hill and Derrick Favors/Rudy Gobert, which will make it difficult to run the NBA's pet play against them.
Had Utah held on to the No. 12 selection, it wouldn't have found as much immediate production. Even by hitting on a late-lottery pick, it would've required time for development, thereby forcing more responsibility onto weaker players. Additionally, the upcoming influx of draft picks mitigates the risk of trading one right now. The Jazz will be getting an additional first-rounder in both 2017 and 2018, courtesy of the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder, respectively.
With Hill, this team is ready to compete. And this offseason, that's all that matters in Salt Lake City.
Adam Fromal covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @fromal09.