Should they break up the core now? (No) If the Hawks are going to trade Teague, Millsap, Horford or even Korver, there's a strong possibility they will take an immediate step back in this system offense. Any upside of a deal would more likely be in the future, not this season (because no team is likely to trade them an asset that weakens themselves this year and makes the Hawks better). If we were to assume a major deal would not help the Hawks in the short term, what's the point of effectively blowing off the postseason? The field in the East isn't daunting. The Cavaliers lead the conference standings but they're not conquering nations. They have LeBron James. Big plus. But they also have a head coach (Tyronn Lue) who has been on the job for three weeks and by all appearances is a puppet for the team's best player. Lue will have to make some major decisions at some point in the playoffs. Is he ready for that? Toronto looks like a legitimate contender but this is a franchise that has won only one playoff series in its existence (2000-01). The Raptors don't scream tradition.
If you make a trade, who/when? (Teague/summer) Should Budenholzer and general manager Wes Wilcox decide to radically change the team's look, it makes sense to do it after the year, when more teams are resetting their rosters and therefore can get involved in trade talks. There's little danger of Horford leaving as an unrestricted free agent. Horford is a team guy but, like any athlete, he'll also want the richest contract possible. Even if he wants out, he can make far more money in a sign-and-trade situation because the Hawks can offer him a five-year deal whereas another team can only offer four. So he likely won't just bolt and sign elsewhere. But I believe dealing Horford would be a mistake. You can't find too many athletes like him who check all the boxes: production, leadership, headache-free. The financial component of his potential signing is significant but that's a decision the Hawks can make in the summer. If the Hawks are going to trade one of their three main pieces (Horford, Millsap, Teague), Teague makes the most sense. He has made remarkable strides under Budenholzer. When he's aggressive, he's great. The problem is he's not always aggressive, and therefore he's inconsistent. But it took a while for the Hawks to find a legitimate starting point guard so they need to be careful here. And I'm not convinced Dennis Schroder is the answer.