The Indiana Pacers nabbed point guard Jeff Teague from the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday as part of a three-team trade with the Utah Jazz. The Pacers parted ways with George Hill, who was sent to Utah, while the Hawks received the 12th overall pick from the Jazz for tomorrow’s draft.
With the acquisition of Teague, are the Pacers back to being an East elite? The answer is no, but they are inching closer. Indiana already has one superstar in Paul George with Teague as a complementary star that will make the team better.
The Pacers finally have a true point guard that can make plays, drive to the basket and create opportunities, and someone who can relieve some pressure on George. In his seven years in Atlanta, Teague averaged 12.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 5.9 assists. He was also selected to play in his first All-Star game in 2015.
Pacers president Larry Bird wanted to play small and fast and he got the perfect point guard to start the break. They only need a good stretch four as PG13 sliding back to his natural position and Myles Turner in the middle.
Jeff Teague is also two years younger than Hill but they have an almost identical hit on the salary cap. However, the 28-year-old is in the final year of his contract and he will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2016-17 season.
According to Yahoo! Sports, the Pacers intend to give him a contract extension. But will he re-sign? There is a great chance that he will, since his an Indianapolis native.
The Eastern Conference only has one elite team and it’s the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Toronto Raptors are second but they need to secure DeMar DeRozan to an extension. They also need to find a better power forward.
The Miami Heat also has problems with Hassan Whiteside’s free agency and Chris Bosh’s health. The Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons are on the rise while the Hawks are in danger of losing Al Horford. Other teams such as the Charlotte Hornets will be playoff contenders.
Indiana is the clear winner in the three-team trade since they got Jeff Teague for George Hill. They got younger, faster and better. The Pacers are not an elite team just yet, but with the right moves this offseason they will be.
Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison/Wikimedia