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Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague

The Heat should consider targeting Jeff Teague in trade talks

The Miami Heat are one of the most surprising teams so far in the early season. Sitting at 12-5, Miami is the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference — 2.5 games behind first place — and better than most expected prior to the season.

Led by the one of the biggest acquisitions of the offseason — All-Star Jimmy Butler, the Heat have proven themselves as a team that’ll likely be in the thick of things come seasons ends. While, it’s certainly premature to call the Heat contenders in the East, the team is playing great basketball and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Other than Butler, the Heat have been led by breakout players such as undrafted rookie Kendrick Nunn, third-year big Bam Adebayo and 2019 first-rounder Tyler Herro. However, while head coach Eril Spoelstra is great at getting the best out his players, the team could use another piece or two if they want to be true contenders in the East.

Veteran point guard Jeff Teague isn’t having the best start to the season. His 12.4 points and 7.6 assists per game are solid but both his field goal (41.2 percent) and three point percentage (25.0 percent) are the lowest since Teague’s rookie year.

With the many injuries to Heat point guard Goran Dragic in recent years, I believe Teague and the Heat could be a great match. Miami currently has no true backup point guard on the roster and while wings Justice Winslow and Butler are great ball handlers and playmakers, a guard like Teague would come in and alleviate those duties from players that aren’t usually forced to do so.

Not only that, but an 11-year NBA veteran like Teague would be perfect for a roster full of young talent in need of mentorship — especially at the guard positions. Players like Herro and Nunn are already great in their own right but they — and the Heat in general — could use more veteran talent.

While you can’t expect the 31-year-old Teague to regain his 2014-15 All-Star form, Teague is still young and talented enough to be an impact player in the league as both a scorer and playmaker. Whether he’d get the start over someone like Dragic is irrelevant because more depth and talent at a position the Heat have a need at would obviously be beneficial.

Of course, the Heat would have to take on Teague’s contract. The point guard is set to earn $19 million dollars this year which would put Teague right behind Dragic as the team’s third highest paid player — that might be a steep price to pay for a player you may primarily be bringing off the bench.

However, 2019-20 is the last year on Teague’s contract so it’s not like Heat would be put in a financial bind by taking on his contract. The Heat have so much talent on cheaper rookie contracts so they can certainly afford to take a $19 million dollar rental.

If Teague plays well, the Heat can likely resign him to a cheaper deal. If not, the Heat should be okay with the talent they have going forward and likely wont be too upset they took a swing and a miss.

Plus, the Heat will likely have a better chance of making the playoffs in the East than the Timberwolves do in the West so it could be beneficial for a veteran player like Teague to join his former teammate Butler in South Beach as they both continue to search for their first rings.