In an interview with Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, point guard Jeff Teague said that he is extremely excited to join the Pacers and he bears no ill-will toward the Hawks for trading him. “Me and the Hawks talked a bit and we agreed to be open with each other and try to help each other facilitate a nice deal. So I knew it was coming [eventually], but I didn’t know when. When I got the news, Coach Bud [Mike Budenholzer] let me know that he would be trading me home. It was bittersweet, but I’m excited about a new start and a new opportunity.”
Discussing what he’ll remember best about his time in Atlanta, Teague told Kennedy, “I’ll remember all of the fun times and all of the great teammates and coaches I had. In Atlanta, I learned so much, especially from Mike Bibby and those guys early on. Those guys had a huge influence on my career, teaching me how to work and how to be a pro. When Coach Bud came in, he gave me an opportunity to play, and it meant a lot that he trusted me and believed in me. I have a lot of great memories from Atlanta – the 60-win season, having the opportunity to play in the Eastern Conference Finals, some of the playoff atmospheres when we played against teams like the Cavs. My time in Atlanta was special and I enjoyed it, but I’m looking forward to doing bigger and better things in Indiana.”
Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy acknowledged that it is easier for the franchise to be successful at attracting free agents now that the team has established itself as being on the rise, Keith Langlois of NBA.com relays. “Guys look at us probably a little differently,” Van Gundy said. “Young team, on the rise. I think both Jon Leuer and Ish Smith liked the idea that they were playing with guys in their own age group and even younger in most cases – that this roster has a chance to grow throughout the length of their contracts.”
- Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg is looking forward to working with Rajon Rondo and believes that he and the point guard will have a solid relationship, Nick Friedell of ESPN.com relays (ESPN Now link). “The big thing with Rondo is I anticipate having a very good relationship with Rajon,” Hoiberg said. “He’s going to be a guy that’s going to be another extension of me and a coach on the floor. And again, I think he’s a guy who can survey the floor and read the situation and get us into our offense in a very efficient manner. He’s a guy who can get to the hole, he’s obviously an excellent passer, has great vision. I think he’ll fit very well with what we’re trying to do.”
- The Knicks deal with Spanish center Willy Hernangomez is for four years and will see him earn $1.4MM in 2016/17 and $5.9MM in total, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. The first three years are fully guaranteed, Pincus adds.