Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 7/11/13
ATLANTA What promised to be a potentially tumultuous offseason for the Hawks could result in even more seismic changes than expected. On Wednesday night, the Milwaukee Bucks signed Hawks starting point guardrestricted free agent Jeff Teague to an offer sheet. Now, Atlanta has three days to to match it, or simply let Teague follow former Hawks head coach Larry Drew to Milwaukee. If that happens, Teague will be the second key player from last seasons starting lineup Josh Smith being the first (signed with the Detroit Pistons) to leave Atlanta, via free agency. In a Thursday statement, Hawks general manager Danny Ferry said the organization values Teague. However, Ferrys statement also was significant for what it did not say: He didn't say, outright, the Hawks would match the offer sheet. "We are in the process of putting together what we believe is a strong foundation for this team and will make the best decision moving forward for our organization," said Ferry. On the flip side, it's possible the Hawks might not be in a position to match Teague's offer sheet. If Ferry decides the Bucks' reported four-year, 32 million pact is too rich for the Hawks, or doesn't fit into Atlanta's long-range plans, what does he do for a point guard? Ferry drafted one two weeks ago in Round 1 Germany's Dennis Schrder, who signed his NBA rookie-scale contract on Thursday. However, point guard is the most difficult position to handle for young NBA players, and Schrder is only 20 years old. Upon drafting Schrder on June 27, Ferry called the player "tenacious and athletic" and highly competitive." But he also said Schrder would require hard work and development to reach his potential. This bears the question: Do the Hawks let Teague walk and force Schrder into some on-the-job training? To compare, when Ricky Rubio made the successful transition from the European game to the NBA with Minnesota, he was one year older than Schrder. He also had three inches on the 6-foot-1 Schrder. It's largely believed that bigger and stronger players make a quicker adjustment to the higher level of play. In all likelihood, Ferry foresees Schrder taking over as the starter at point before the four-year term of Teagues offer sheet would be set to end. That would put a crimp on the flexibility that Ferry prizes most in assembling the teams roster. On Wednesday, after introducing new forward Paul Millsap to the media, Ferry discussed how he values flexibility with FOXSportsSouth.com when he was asked if he needed more depth in the post. "We need to add good players everywhere and guys with our values, guys that come on valuable contracts that allow us a level of flexibility to continue to build, he said. "I think after the couple of main people went off the board" he was referring obliquely to free agents Chris Paul and Dwight Howard "I think the focus there was still maintaining a level of flexibility that you grow and not get yourself stuck in one position." With the exception of Kyle Korver, Ferry mostly has opted to sign players to short-term deals. Millsap inked a two-year contract. What remains to be seen is whether Ferry thinks Teague, 25, is worth a four-year deal. For his part, Teague seems ready to move on. He told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as much. "I really didnt talk to them much through the process," Teague told AJC writer Chris Vivlamore of the Hawks. "I enjoyed my time there in Atlanta. I don't think I really got too familiar with everybody once there was the switch in the front office. I dont think we really built the relationship that we could have. It is what it is." In discussing the approach with FOXSportsSouth.com, Ferry left open the possibility to do something "unconventional." Maybe letting Teague go fits that bill. "Hopefully, if you do a good job and youre clear on what you want, it should make it easier," Ferry said of his approach. "To do things, you have to have a level of patience and poise in going through the process and you have to do things that are maybe unconventional. "We may end up signing someone that everyone may scratch their head and say, Why did they pay that much? We have to feel good about our process and do it an objective way way beforehand we decide what were going to do." So will people scratch their heads if they cant believe the Hawks were willing to match the offer sheet to Teague? Or will they perhaps scratch their heads at another player Ferry signs as Teague's replacement perhaps the Bucks Monta Ellis or Brandon Jennings, two players who dont quite seem to fit Ferrys mold? Or will Ferry simply allow Schrder to take over at the point? So many questions. We may know a lot of the answers by late on Saturday night.
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