Jeff Teague

Latest On Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving‘s request to be traded is the latest story to rock the league during an eventful offseason. The news broke Friday, but Irving’s meeting with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert took place about two weeks ago, according to Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com.

The Cavs tried to keep it quiet so they could work on a deal without the distractions that are starting to happen now. Apparently some players learned about the news and started talking, which is how the trade request became public.

Pluto also speculates that Irving’s demand validates rumors last month that former Bulls star Jimmy Butler was warned by Cavaliers players not to push for a trade to Cleveland. They have a close friendship, so Irving may have told Butler that he was planning to leave the team. Butler was subsequently traded to the Timberwolves, one of the teams Irving included on his list of preferred destinations, along with the Spurs, Knicks and Heat.

There’s more today on the Irving trade front:

  • The Wolves have a strong interest in acquiring Irving, even though they just signed former Pacers point guard Jeff Teague, Pluto adds in the same story. Pluto believes the Cavs should ask for Andrew Wiggins, whom the Cavs made the overall No. 1 draft pick in 2014, as part of the deal. Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns are untouchable, but Wiggins will be a free agent next summer if he doesn’t sign an extension before the October deadline.
  • The Knicks have offered Carmelo Anthony and a parcel of draft picks, adds Pluto, who says Cleveland should insist on Kristaps Porzingis. Other teams that have expressed interest include Sacramento, with rookie De’Aaron Fox as part of the offer, and Phoenix, with a package centered around Eric Bledsoe.
  • Pluto also notes that a trade would take away Irving’s opportunity to sign a super-max extension like the one John Wall just agreed to with the Wizards. The move could cost Irving between $50MM and $70MM.
  • Butler and Towns have done some recruiting work with Irving and have made it clear to Wolves management they would like to acquire him, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who first broke the story of Irving’s trade request. Windhorst believes Teague would likely be included in any Minnesota-Cleveland deal and notes that as a newly signed free agent he can’t be traded until December 15th.
  • The Spurs would be Irving’s first choice if he could pick a team, writes Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.
  • The Cavaliers had a deal on the table involving Irving before the draft, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The trade was put together by former GM David Griffin, but the Cavaliers didn’t pull the trigger because they didn’t know that Irving wanted to leave.

Free Agent Rumors: Dedmon, Teague, Timberwolves, Heat

The Hawks are interested in free agent center Dewayne Dedmon, Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders tweets. They are also looking at Willie Reed, Scotto passes along in the same tweet via Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. The Nets and Celtics have also been mentioned as possibilities for Dedmon, who played for the Spurs last season. Reed, who played for the Heat last season, met with the Clippers on Friday and has drawn interest from several other clubs.

In other developments involving free agency:

  • The Kings and Nuggets along with his former team, the Pacers, were interested in Jeff Teague before he signed with the Timberwolves, Darren Wolfson of KSTP-TV tweets via his colleague Joe Schmit. The Kings wound up signing point guard George Hill, while the Nuggets spent most of their free agent money on power forward Paul Millsap. Teague signed a three-year, $57MM deal with Minnesota.
  • Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau is still shopping for two wings and a point guard to upgrade their bench, Wolfson notes in a separate tweet. However, Thibodeau has likely filled one of those wing spots with Jamal Crawford, who agreed to a two-year contract after negotiating a buyout agreement with the Hawks and being placed on waivers. Crawford has cleared waivers and is expected to sign sometime this week, Chris Haynes of ESPN tweets.
  • The Heat are in discussions with forwards Luke Babbitt and Udonis Haslem, according to an Associated Press report. Those deals, if completed, would likely be veteran minimum, the report adds. Babbitt appeared in 68 games, including 55 starts, for the injury-depleted Heat last season. Haslem saw action in just 16 games.

Timberwolves Sign Jeff Teague

"<strongJULY 10: The Timberwolves have officially signed Teague, the team announced today.

JUNE 30: The Timberwolves and unrestricted free agent Jeff Teague have agreed to a deal, per Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press (via Twitter). It will be a three-year, $57MM deal, per the scribe. The final year is reportedly a player option.

The addition of Teague will continue an extremely busy offseason for Minnesota, with the team having already acquired star swingman Jimmy Butler from the Bulls earlier this week. The Wolves were in desperate need of a point guard, having shipped away Ricky Rubio (Jazz) and Kris Dunn (Bulls) in separate trades.

In 82 contests last season for the Pacers, Teague averaged 15.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 7.8 assists. His career marks are 12.6 PPG, 2.4 RPG and 5.5 APG to go along with a shooting line of .447/.355/.844.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Northwest Notes: George, Patterson, Gobert

Make no mistake, Oklahoma City’s one mission this season is to convince Paul George to remain with the Thunder once he hits free agency next summer. But what, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman asks, does the All-Star forward want?

George and his representation have been nothing if not forthright about the 27-year-old’s desire to sign with the Lakers in the summer of 2018 but he still has a season under contract and a fresh, new change of scenery to enjoy with the Thunder until that time comes.

If George truly wants to play for a winner, the Thunder have a legitimate chance of positioning themselves as the better option than the Lakers, Horne writes. Oklahoma City has, after all, been competitive for the past five years while the Lakers have toiled in mediocrity.

The question is whether playing for a winner will ever actually trump George’s desire to return to his home state.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The move to sign Patrick Patterson will help the Thunder on the defensive end, the forward’s former coach Kevin McHale told The Oklahoman. He says Patterson is the type of player that excels at all the little parts of the game.
  • With Gordon Hayward on his way to the Celtics, it’s become clear that Rudy Gobert may have been the leader of the Jazz all along, Brad Rock of The Deseret News writes. The big man has long been more charismatic and vocal than his Beantown-bound counterpart.
  • The move that sent Avery Bradley from the Celtics to the Pistons has all but extinguished any hopes the Jazz had of pulling off a sign-and-trade connected to Gordon Hayward’s move to Boston, Jody Genessey of The Deseret News writes.
  • The Timberwolves saw an opportunity and seized it this offseason, bringing Jeff Teague into the fold at the expense of long-time point guard Ricky Rubio. “Ricky did a good job here; we’re happy for him,” Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau told the media, including Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. “We wish him well. He made a number of contributions to our team, our organization and community and we certainly appreciate that. For us where we are now, we have to get out of this hole and we felt we had an opportunity to improve our team, and that’s why we did what we did.”
  • An additional benefit the Timberwolves will enjoy after bringing Jimmy Butler aboard will be his contributions as a recruiter, Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago writes.
  • No team in the NBA shot worse when wide open beyond the arc than the Thunder did last season, that should change after the club welcomes Paul George and Patrick Patterson to its lineup, Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman writes.

Knicks Believe Teague Has Committed To Wolves

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, at least one front office believes Jeff Teague is so committed to the Timberwolves that it’s not worth pursuing a meeting. It’s been said that the Knicks have abandoned the idea of sitting down with the Pacers free agent altogether.

We wrote earlier about how Sam Amick of USA Today called Teague Minnesota’s “heavy, heavy favorite” target. Since that time, Chad Hartman of WCCO in Minneapolis has already gone so far as to say that the team and the point guard have a three-year deal in mind (via Dan Cook of WCCO).

While teams and players can’t officially negotiate until midnight EST, there has already been much speculation about who the Wolves will target now that they’ve sent Ricky Rubio to the Jazz.

Wolves Target Teague Among Other PG Options

Immediately after trading Ricky Rubio to the Jazz for a first-round pick, the Timberwolves have made Jeff Teague their favorite target available, Sam Amick of USA Today writes.

Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean the interest is mutual but there’s reason to believe that Minnesota has a pretty good idea of who their starting point guard will be in 2017/18.

Per Josh Lewenberg of TSN, the Timberwolves wouldn’t make the Rubio trade without knowing who their replacement would be. He speculates that it could be Kyle Lowry but notes that it would make more sense for the club to pursue Teague or George Hill.

If the decision did come between Teague and Lowry, Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News suggests that the 29-year-old Teague could have the upper hand over his 31-year-old counterpart with the flexibility to offer a shorter deal so that the Wolves could save money.

Another option that has been floated by Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports is Rajon Rondo. Mannix notes that T-Wolves head coach Tom Thibodeau saw the best of Rondo during his stint with the Celtics.

As of now, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman notes, the only point guard on Minnesota’s roster is Tyus Jones

Mutual Interest Between Jeff Teague, Knicks

There is mutual interest between the Knicks and veteran point guard Jeff Teague, who will become an unrestricted free agent on Saturday, writes Ian Begley of ESPN.com.

It’s not the first time we’ve heard about New York’s interest in Teague — as Begley notes, general manager Steve Mills talked to the Hawks two years ago about a potential trade for the point guard. However, the timing of the report is interesting.

[RELATED: Knicks part ways with Phil Jackson]

We learned back in March that while Teague liked New York, the Knicks’ commitment to the triangle offense would likely prevent him from seriously considering the franchise as a free agent. Since Phil Jackson is no longer heading up the Knicks’ front office, it seems likely that the team will significantly de-emphasize the triangle going forward. With no Jackson and no triangle, it’s possible that players like Teague will view New York as a more viable landing spot.

Teague, 29, had another solid season in 2016/17, averaging 15.3 PPG and a career-high 7.8 APG in what was his first – and possibly last – year in Indiana. If the Pacers move Paul George and enter a rebuilding mode, Teague is unlikely to return.

Wolves Plan To Target Kyle Lowry, Three Others

With Jimmy Butler now on board, the Timberwolves’ next step is an upgrade at point guard, tweets Mitch Lawrence of The Sporting News.

Toronto’s Kyle Lowry tops Minnesota’s free agent wish list, according to Lawrence, followed by New Orleans’ Jrue Holiday, Indiana’s Jeff Teague and Utah’s George Hill.

Minnesota has about $20MM in remaining cap room, so more salary would have to be unloaded to offer a max deal. One way to do that, especially if a point guard is being targeted, is to find a taker for incumbent starter Ricky Rubio, who will make $14.25MM next season and $14.8MM in 2018/19.

The Wolves had discussions involving Rubio with the Knicks at last season’s deadline and the Mavericks more recently, but both teams just picked up new point guards in the draft.

Lowry is the most likely of the four to receive maximum money. Coming off three straight All-Star appearances, the 11-year veteran made $12MM with the Raptors this season. Although limited to 60 games by injuries, he averaged a career-high 22.4 points per game.

All four teams have Bird rights on their guards, so they will have the competitive advantage of being able to offer more money and one more season than Minnesota can.

Free Agent Rumors: Lowry, Ginobili, Teague, Sixers

In the wake of a report that cast some doubts on whether Kyle Lowry intends to re-sign with the Raptors, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News examines the point guard’s situation, suggesting that Lowry returning to Toronto is still the most likely outcome. However, Deveney pointed to a couple other teams as potential Lowry suitors.

Sources have indicated to Deveney that there’s a chance the Knicks will pursue Lowry, though if the 31-year-old wants to join a contending team, that may take New York out of the equation. According to Deveney, the Nuggets may be another team to watch, since they have cap room necessary to make a splash and could use a long-term solution at the point. They’ve also shown a willingness to go after impact players — I suggested last week that the Nuggets may be a good bet to pursue a free agent point guard.

Meanwhile, Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Jimmy Butler “has been in [Lowry’s] ear” about joining the Bulls since the two played together for Team USA. A Bulls source tells Cowley that Butler and Dwyane Wade would prefer to play with a point guard who can space the floor better than Rajon Rondo, and Lowry would certainly fit that bill. I don’t think the Bulls signing Lowry is a very realistic scenario, but I also didn’t expect the club to add Wade and Rondo a year ago, so we’ll see how the offseason plays out.

Here are a few other free agent notes from around the NBA:

  • Manu Ginobili, who is an unrestricted free agent this summer, has yet to make a final decision on his future. However, there have been positive indications that he’s leaning toward returning to the Spurs for another year, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
  • Pacers president Kevin Pritchard is mulling the possibility of having Lance Stephenson run the point in Indiana if the team embarks on a rebuild, tweets Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star. While Doyel doesn’t come out and say it, that wouldn’t be a good sign for Jeff Teague‘s odds of re-signing with the Pacers this offseason.
  • Speaking to reporters on Monday, Sixers president Bryan Colangelo downplayed the idea of the Sixers foraying into free agency much this summer, suggesting the club wants to maintain maximum flexibility for 2018, when its core is “more ready” (Twitter link via Derek Bodner).
  • Kincade Upstill of The Deseret News explores possible next steps for the Jazz if Gordon Hayward departs in free agency next month.

Poll: Best Unrestricted Free Agent Point Guard

Among unrestricted free agents this offseason, point guard is easily the deepest position. Stephen Curry, Kyle Lowry, George Hill, Jeff Teague, Jrue Holiday, and Derrick Rose headline this group. Deron Williams, Darren Collison, and Patty Mills are also unrestricted free agents. In all, there are 28 unrestricted free agent point guards this offseason.

Two-time MVP Curry has scarcely been mentioned as an unrestricted free agent because most take for granted that he will return to the Warriors to dominate the NBA with the likes of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green for years to come.

Probably the second best player in this group, Lowry, will be coming off a breakout season, but he is 31 years old, has a long history of playoff struggles, and the Raptors would need to offer him a 5-year max contract. Still, Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combine for one of the most lethal backcourts in the league, and it is difficult to imagine Toronto not laying out the red carpet for its star point guard’s return.

After seven seasons with the Hawks, Teague played in all 82 games for the Pacers, averaging 15.3 PPG, 7.8 APG, and 1.2 SPG.

Although limited to 49 games due to injury in his first campaign with the Jazz, Hill averaged a career-high 16.9 PPG to go with an impressive slash line of .477/.403/.801.

Holiday shot a career-high 45.4% from the floor for the Pelicans, posting 15.4 PPG, 7.3 APG, and 1.5 SPG.

Rose, a former MVP, averaged 18.0 PPG and 4.4 APG, while shooting a stellar 47.1% in 64 games in his first season with the Knicks.

Without further ado, here’s today’s poll question: Beyond Curry and Lowry, who among this group would be most helpful for a team to sign and suit up as their starting point guard next season? Don’t limit yourself to a click of a button. Do you believe someone in the group is better than each of the available options? Are we underrating someone’s potential? Let us know in the comment section below. We look forward to your insight!

 

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