After making the playoffs in each of his first nine NBA seasons, Jeff Teague‘s teams in Minnesota and Atlanta have fallen short of the postseason during the last two years. He’s hoping to reverse that trend in 2021, telling Michael Scotto of HoopsHype that he’ll be looking to join a winning team as a free agent this fall.
“Honestly, I just want to go to a team where we’re playing to win. I want to win,” Teague said. “… If that’s starting or coming off the bench, I just want to play a significant role in winning. That’s really it for me. I know if I get a chance to play and compete, I’m going to play well. I’m not really worried about an exact situation, or I need to be able to start or whatever.”
Although the Timberwolves didn’t enter last season expecting to tank, the club had fallen to 10 games below .500 and was pivoting to player development by the time it traded Teague to the Hawks. In Atlanta, the veteran point guard joined a 9-32 team that was no closer to entering the playoff picture. Having spent this past season with a pair of rebuilding clubs, Teague isn’t looking to repeat that situation in ’20/21.
“I don’t want to go to a team where we’re trying to build for the draft,” Teague said. “I don’t want to do that.”
The 32-year-old, who averaged 10.9 PPG and 5.2 APG in 59 total games (24.8 MPG) in 2019/20, shouldn’t have to reduce his list of potential destinations too significantly by focusing on teams looking to win.
Many of this year’s 14 lottery teams are either veteran-led clubs hoping to bounce back after injury-plagued seasons – such as the Warriors or Wizards – or are young teams that will be pushing to make it back to the playoffs, like the Suns, Pelicans, and Hawks. Speaking to Scotto, Teague suggested he won’t be opposed to joining a younger roster as long as the team is prioritizing winning over rebuilding.
“I get along with all the young guys. Me and the young guys have strong relationships on most of the teams I’ve played on,” Teague said. “I like to take them under my wing and try to be a leader to them.”