(right) has started at point guard for the Hawks
for the last two seasons. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Update: On Thursday, Teague told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he doesn't expect the Hawks to match and that he hasn't had much contact with Atlanta's front office during free agency. Teague's departure would set up a scenario where the Hawks could negotiate with Jennings without many (any?) other suitors, or turn their attention to someone else, perhaps Utah's Mo Williams. The Hawks signed Jazz forward Paul Millsap earlier this month.
The Bucks have reportedly tendered Hawks restricted free agent point guard Jeff Teague a multi-year offer sheet.
Yahoo! Sports reports that Milwaukee has extended Teague a four-year offer sheet worth $32 million.
Once the offer sheet is officially signed, Atlanta will have three days to decide whether or not to match the offer and retain Teague. During that time period, Milwaukee cannot use the cap space allotted to sign Teague on other moves.
The Bucks have a restricted free agent point guard of their own: Brandon Jennings. As of Wednesday, Jennings had yet to receive an offer sheet of his own. In recent days, ESPN.com reported that the two teams might engage in a sign-and-trade deal involving a swap of Teague for Jennings. It's worth noting here that former Hawks coach Larry Drew was hired to coach the Bucks earlier this summer and that The Point Forward's Rob Mahoney recently wrote in Sports Illustrated that he preferred Teague to Jennings.
Teague, 25, averaged 14.6 points, 7.2 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals, while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from deep last season. His PER of 16.8 ranked No. 20 among point guards last season.
Jennings, 23, averaged 17.5 points, 6.5 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals, while shooting 39.9 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from deep last season. His PER of 16.2 ranked No. 28 among point guards last season.
Milwaukee's offer to Teague simplifies what was a potentially complicated situation by putting the ball in Atlanta's court. It's always hard to gauge a team's approach when the entire moratorium passes without a deal being reached. Have the Hawks, with new coach Mike Budenholzer, soured on Teague's future, or are they simply letting the market do the negotiating for them?
The terms of this offer sheet are reasonable and one would assume Atlanta will simply match this and call it a day. Rarely does a team let a key starting player with no known red flags walk in restricted free agency unless he is being massively overpaid. At $8 million per year, Teague would be slotted well below all of the other major 2009 guards, including Tyreke Evans ($44 million over four years), Stephen Curry ($44 million over four years), DeMar DeRozan ($40 million over four years), Jrue Holiday ($41 million over four years) and Ty Lawson ($48 million over four years). That's where he belongs. That number also happens to be significantly less than the four-year, $40 million extension that Jennings turned down last fall, according to Yahoo! Sports.
What's more, Atlanta is easily in a position to afford that number and has no other readily available starting point guard options, although 2013 first-round pick Dennis Schröder has nice long-term potential and scoring guard Lou Williams can handle the ball.
While this offer sheet lets Jennings know that the Bucks ultimately preferred Teague, or at least preferred Teague at this price, it also would take Atlanta out of the market for Jennings' services should they elect to match. It's possible that this maneuver ultimately drives Jennings' price down, but that also has the potential to become a tricky two-step with Jennings, who hasn't always seemed like the happiest camper in Milwaukee.