The New York Knicks have a plethora of point guard options in free agency. One player they hold in high regard is Jeff Teague.
This summer’s free agent market is filled with quality guards, an important addition the New York Knicks are desperate to make.
Among the players available, New York is expected to make a run at former NBA All-Star, Jeff Teague. The Knicks have shown prior interest in the guard before, both in free agency and through trade talks.
Before the trade deadline of the 2015-2016 season, Ian Begley of ESPN New York reported the Knicks’ approach to Atlanta, regarding the point guard:
“Obtaining Teague would likely change the Knicks’ offense immediately.”
Unfortunately for Knicks’ fans, this statement holds true more than a year later.
Last season wasn’t the first time New York made a run at Teague. There were trade rumors back in 2014, but they quickly burned out due to salary concerns.
Point guard Derrick Rose, who has not embraced Phil Jackson’s triangle offense, will likely not be returning. He could be a part of a sign-and-trade for Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio.
In almost every single way, Teague is an upgrade to current Knicks’ point guard Derrick Rose. Where they both excel in penetrating in the paint, Teague adds three-point shooting and confident, creative passing. He puts as much pressure into defense as his efficient fluid offense.
The Knicks were ranked 21st last season in 3-point percentage, shooting 34.8 percent as a team. Teague, however, shot 36% and connected on 90 shots from deep. He isn’t a sharpshooter by any means, but he’s more firepower to the arsenal.
Believe it or not, the New York Knicks were not a high ranking assist team last year. Yes, they were ranked 19th at 21.8 per game, but teams all the way down to 25 averaged at least 21.
Last season, the Pacers’ guard averaged 7.8 assists per game; his passing succeeds any Knicks player since Raymond Felton in 2013. This was a career-high, as was his four rebounds per game. In his eighth season, Teague is showing his best basketball may still be ahead.
In March, when asked about his future decision to be made come July, Teague didn’t leave out New York.
“Everybody loves New York. It’s a great place to play.”
One sure factor this guard brings with him: playoff experience. Teague has seen post-season play every year of his nine-year career, which is more than the Knicks’ can say for the last fifteen seasons.
The Indiana Pacers will assuredly make an attempt to keep Teague in hopes of retaining Paul George, but it’s still up in the air.
After failing to nab Teague twice over, the third time really may be the charm for New York. At 28, he’s coming off of an $8-million contract, and won’t be receiving anywhere near the max. Though the Knicks have only a projected $19-million in salary cap room, Teague may prove the cheapest yet most reliable option.
The New York Knicks have sought after Teague plenty in the past. Now it would serve them well to sign him as the point guard for the future.