Al Horford, Jeff Teague drawing interest from Boston Celtics

Sep 28, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague (0) and center Al Horford (15) pose for a photo during media day at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague (0) and center Al Horford (15) pose for a photo during media day at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

Al Horford and Jeff Teague trade/free agency rumors continue to grow. The Boston Celtics have interest in both and what would they be willing to part with?

Atlanta Hawks fans have known for a while now that starting center Al Horford is an impending free agent that will absolutely command a max contract. Though the Atlanta Hawks have Bird Rights on Horford, being able to offer more money and an extra year than any other team in the NBA, there is growing concern that Al Horford may end up leaving Atlanta and signing elsewhere this summer.

Those who follow the Hawks also know that there is a point guard battle brewing in Atlanta between starter Jeff Teague and backup Dennis Schroder. At times, Schroder plays well enough to start for an NBA team, but is the Atlanta front office willing to hand him over the keys to the Hawks’ offense by parting ways with Jeff Teague in a trade? Teague has one more year left on his Hawks’ contract worth $8 million guaranteed in 2016-17.

While both former NBA All-Stars have drawn interest from several teams around the Association, there is one organization that seems to have an interest in both: the Boston Celtics. Though Boston won’t likely acquire both Al Horford and Jeff Teague, it would probably be one or the other, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has stockpiled assets the last few years since blowing up the The Big Three/Four (Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo).

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According to CSNNE’s Chris Mannix, the Boston Celtics “have inquired about several players with Atlanta, [Jeff] Teague and Al Horford.” It seems that the Celtics are going to look for a star player to help them in their Eastern Conference Playoff run and Teague or Horford could end up being that guy.

Teague to Boston would mean that the Hawks would have to get a guard in return like either Avery Bradley or Marcus Smart. Boston may not want to send their All-Star starting point guard Isaiah Thomas to Atlanta and Thomas’ arrival to the Hawks wouldn’t exactly be giving the keys to the offense to Dennis Schroder. Thomas isn’t a sixth man type of player any more.

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What adds intrigue to Teague is that he has one more year left on his contract. Teague has proven that he is very coachable during his time in Atlanta and would do a fine job running Brad Stevens offense in Boston. Teague’s ability to score in a hurry in crunch time is something that the Celtics simply don’t have, so that could be what is peaking Boston’s interest in him so much. Maybe Atlanta could get a first round pick for Teague as well in the deal should it conceivably happen?

Horford is an ideal fit for the frontcourt player Boston would love to build its team around. However, he is playing on an expiring contract and there are no guarantees that Al Horford would re-sign with Boston anyway. Atlanta would need a first round pick, small forward Jae Crowder, and at least one other player for the Haws to consider sending Horford to Boston.

Overall, I would prefer to see both Al Horford and Jeff Teague in Atlanta’s long-term plans. Dennis Schroder has not been consistent enough at point guard to win the starting job over Teague. Horford seems like loyalty matters to him and may end up signing a max deal to play with after all.

While I hadn’t considered the Boston Celtics as a potential trade partner, largely because I didn’t think they would want either a Jeff Teague or an Al Horford, the Celtics can offer more than any team can shake a finger at with regards to making a trade.

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Danny Ainge is waiting for the right time to build a winner in Boston and it seems that the 2016 NBA trade deadline is the next step in the Celtics’ inevitable climb back into relevancy. However, as with all trades, one has to give up something to get something else. Expect Boston to remain active in trade discussions and the Atlanta Hawks to at least hear out offers from other teams in the NBA this February.