Guard Jeff Teague (0) and center Al Horford (15) are reportedly on the trading block. (Steve Dykes/USA TODAY Sports)
The hottest ticket in NBA trade deadline sweepstakes appears to belong to the Atlanta Hawks. And they are treating it like a Super Bowl ticket at the 50.
According to Celtics‘ CSNNE sideline reporter Chris Mannix, the Hawks are asking a king’s ransom for big man Al Horford and guard Jeff Teague less than a week before Thursday’s trading deadline.
Many NBA trade rumors have long linked the Celtics to the 29-year-old Horford for two basic reasons. There’s an obvious need for the Celtics in the post to strengthen their potential playoff run in the East.
The Celtics are in third place with a 32-23 record at the All-Star break and could make a run at the No. 1 or 2 seed. Secondly, the Celtics are one of the few teams with the capital on hand to execute the deal the Hawks are looking for, as Boston currently holds three first-round picks in the upcoming draft, including Brooklyn’s lottery pick.
But that doesn’t mean Boston would be willing to deal, according to Mannix.
“From everything I’ve been told in the last two or three days, Atlanta’s requests for both Al Horford and Jeff Teague have been borderline ridiculous,” Mannix said Thursday on CSNNE. “The kind of things teams like Boston, or Milwaukee, or Denver simply won’t deal for the players they want.
“Things like this tend to cool off though. As we get close to the deadline — when we get to the 17th, when we get to the 18th (the trade deadline) — that’s when the real horse trading begins. That’s when [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny Ainge will know if Atlanta is really serious about trading Al Horford.”
Horford has started all 55 games this season and is averaging 15.3 points per game and 6.9 rebounds. The biggest deterrent to making a deal would be the fact that Horford will become a free agent at the end of the season. Teague, at 27, is also still in the prime of his career. He’s in the third year of a four-year, $32 million contract.
There have been multiple reports that the Hawks are considering trading the two pieces to try and get to the top of the draft and to position themselves for the new salary cap that takes effect next season, with a cap coming in at around $89 million, a jump of $19 million. In two years, the cap mushrooms to $108 million.