Things are getting very interesting between Jeff Teague, the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Wednesday night, reports surfaced that the Bucks had signed Teague to an offer sheet with $32 million over four years, presumably to be Milwaukee’s new starting point guard. But Teague is a restricted free agent, which gives the Hawks 72 hours from the moment they receive the offer sheet to match the deal. The assumption is that the Hawks received the offer sheet some time last night.
Often, with restricted free agents, teams have a very good idea how they will handle the situation if the player decides to sign an offer sheet elsewhere and we get closure, one way or the other, on these scenarios very quickly.
We might have to wait on this one for the whole three days though.
Teauge’s numbers from last season compare pretty favorably the other point guards in his draft class and his salary would be solid value if he were able to maintain his current level of production. To wit:
Teague finds himself right in the middle, based on last season’s performance. Keep in mind that each of these players, outside of Jennings and Flynn – who played in Australia last year – have signed deals worth more than $10 million annually. It almost seems like a no-brainer that the Hawks would match the offer, no?
Except that a new regime has taken over since Teague was drafted. He is not “their guy”. Who might be? Perhaps Dennis Schröder, the point guard Atlanta selected with the 17th pick just weeks ago. Beyond that, Teague has already gotten very vocal about wanting out of Atlanta. He’s felt slighted and a lack of love from the team according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Jeff Teague to AJC: “They embraced me and they wanted me. They told me that. That is something I never really heard (in Atlanta).” #ATLHawks
— Chris Vivlamore (@ajchawks) July 11, 2013
Vivlamore went on to say that Teague thinks the Hawks are unlikely to match his deal and that both parties, he and the Hawks, are moving in separate directions. Of course, we’ve seen this play out in a similar fashion with other RFAs, only to see the team defy them and match the deal anyway. The Bucks even have some experience with this, having matched a deal Charlie Bell never wanted them to match years ago.
Where does that leave the Bucks? Potentially with a new point guard on a solid contract. And with the rights to another point guard looking for a large contract. All indications are that the Bucks have not renounced the rights to Brandon Jennings to get this deal done. Marc Stein reported that the Bucks have renounced the rights to Joel Przybilla. They have also officially signed and traded J.J. Redick to the Los Angeles Clippers to free up cap space, but have yet to officially announce any of the other reported deals (Luc Mbah a Moute to the Kings, O.J. Mayo’s signing, Carlos Delfino’s signing and Zaza Pachulia’s signing) we’ve heard about in the past week.
The timing of the deals is very important, as not signing those deals means the Bucks can keep the rights to Jennings and still sign and trade Monta Ellis, though Frank Madden indicates they will have to renounce Ellis’ rights to afford this deal (Frank has all this cap stuff covered, he’s a beast). It is also important to note that the Bucks CANNOT work out a sign and trade with the Hawks around Jeff Teague now that he has signed an offer sheet with them. Though the Bucks could still do something with the Hawks around Jennings if they so desired.
Ultimately, we still don’t know quite what’s exactly going to happen just yet. We know the Bucks want Teague. We know Teague wants the Bucks. After that, it’s all conjecture and mystery right now. We’re 11 days into this off season and there’s little sign it’s going to slow down any time soon, with the futures of Jennings and Ellis still hanging in the balance.