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NBA Rumors: Dwight Howard in Atlanta, Josh Smith in Houston, Jeff Teague in Utah?

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You can’t always trust rumors, but they certainly catch your attention.

Three different pieces of free agent “pondering”, if you will, popped up on ESPN this week. In one article, written by the Twitter-famous Chris Broussard, Dwight Howard’s chances of landing in Atlanta were analyzed using pros and cons. In his pros he mentioned Howard being a positive influence on the Hawks’ popularity in Atlanta, as well as him lobbying for Josh Smith to take less money to stick around. Obviously, these stories are just rumors and we’ve all heard about the possibilities of Howard being in Atlanta MULTIPLE times. In his cons, Broussard mentioned how most players don’t like to play in their hometowns. Howard as said things similar to this in the past and its likely his opinions won’t change in the future. While I’d love to watch Da-White Dawight Dwite Dwigt Howard play with Horford and (possibly) Smith, it likely won’t happen and, unfortunately, Danny Ferry will be struggling to create a good roster next season (if everything goes worst-case scenario).

In another article, Amin Elhassan wrote about best-case scenarios for upcoming free agents. Among that list, were Josh Smith and Jeff Teague. He had Smoove to Houston and Teague to Utah. Reaction:

Smoove to HOU

While this scenario is down-right heavenly for James Harden’s bunch, it would leave the Hawks hanging. Here’s what Elhassan wrote:

Smith’s abilities on both ends of the court fit perfectly with the Rockets’ needs. He’s a high-wire athlete who would excel in Houston’s up-tempo attack. He is versatile enough to play as a stretch PF who can face up and take bigger defenders off the dribble and who can guard multiple positions, particularly on the wing where the Rockets struggle to contain dribble penetration. Ultimately, Smith would benefit from Houston’s stats-driven offensive strategy, which would help him become a much more efficient player from shot selection alone.

I agree that the Rockets would benefit from his skill-set and the team could use a defensive power forward to pair with their Turkish sensation player Omer Asik. Will he take the max to lift-off in Houston? We’ll have to wait until the free agency period is in full orbit. (punswell intended)

Teague to UTA

Jeff to the Jazz? The Hawks do not want Teague to accept a qualifying offer from Utah because of two reasons:

  1. The Jazz desperately need a solid guard, so they are bound to throw money around and build the contract in a weird way to try and pry him from the ATL.
  2. Teague is finally coming around to perform well. (see my recent posts)

His ability to drive and dish would be fun to watch with the young big men of Salt Lake City. Here’s Elhassan’s take on the contract situation:

As Larry Coon pointed out, the Jazz figure to have the second-most cap space heading into the offseason, with potentially more than $30 million in room. This gives Utah a lot of flexibility in structuring Teague’s offer sheet to make it as unpalatable as possible for Atlanta to match. Other than offering a descending scale contract, they can give Teague a 10 percent signing bonus, which would apply itself equally to all non-option years of the deal. Furthermore, they can arrange to have the cash-out payment schedule (i.e., the actual checks that go out) to pay 50 percent of the salary before the start of the season.

In review, the Hawks have a bunch of players hitting the free-agent market and most of them will be sought after athletes. Yep. Have fun this summer, Mr. Ferry.

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Tags: Atlanta Hawks Dwight Howard Jeff Teague Josh Smith

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