Jeff Teague

Woj: Wolves’ Asking Price For Butler Too High

11:25am: Butler hasn’t joined the Wolves for training camp yet and has asked to sit out until he has been traded, Wojnarowski and Lowe report in a full story.

8:51am: Little progress has been made in Jimmy Butler trade talks because teams believe the Timberwolves are asking too much in return, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Minnesota owner Glen Taylor hopes to get a deal get done soon, but the organization is holding out for an offer that provides quality veterans, top prospects, future assets and cap relief. The price has been too high so far for all the teams interested in Butler, including the Heat, who are said to be the most aggressive. Because Miami is well over the cap, it is unable to offer anything in the way of cap relief, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel (Twitter link).

Sources tell Wojnarowski they’re skeptical that coach/executive Tom Thibodeau wants to part with Butler, even after Taylor’s mandate. ESPN colleague Zach Lowe adds that it’s not possible to exaggerate “how volatile things are in Minnesota right now.” (Twitter link)

Wojnarowski also reported last night that the Suns, who are in the market for a point guard, looked into getting involved to help facilitate a three-team trade, but decided what the Wolves were asking was “far too steep” (Twitter link). There hasn’t been any communication about sending Jeff Teague or Goran Dragic to Phoenix, but that could still happen if Minnesota and Miami make progress on trade talks.

It has been nine days since Butler met with Minnesota’s front office and issued his trade request. Taylor wanted to get a deal done quickly to “avoid a circus” in training camp, but the situation doesn’t appear close to a resolution. Miami is reportedly Butler’s first choice among trading partners, but so far that hasn’t made a difference.

Suns’ Search For Point Guard Could Overlap With Butler Sweepstakes

The Suns‘ pursuit of a point guard on the trade market could result in them getting involved in the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes as a facilitator, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Keith Smith of first reported (via Twitter) that the Suns, like the Kings, were open to the idea of helping facilitate a three-team Butler trade.

As Wojnarowski details, if the Timberwolves and Heat were to make a trade involving Butler and Goran Dragic, it could open the door for Minnesota to send Jeff Teague to Phoenix as part of the deal. The Suns are also known to have inquired on backup Wolves point guard Tyus Jones. It’s not clear how interested the Suns would be in landing Dragic – who has already had two stints in Phoenix – as part of a three-team trade with Minnesota and Miami, but that could also be an avenue the team explores.

[RELATED: Heat Now Atop Jimmy Butler’s Wish List?]

The Kings may make a bit more sense than Phoenix as a third team in a potential Butler trade, since they have $11MM in cap room to work with, putting them in a better position to accommodate an unwanted contract. However, Sacramento would likely be after a first-round pick. The Suns are over the cap and would need to match salaries in any deal, perhaps using expiring contracts like Tyson Chandler‘s ($13.59MM) or Darrell Arthur‘s ($7.46MM).

The Suns have been on the lookout for a point guard since moving Brandon Knight to Houston in a trade last month. Besides Teague and Jones, some of the point guards cited as potential trade targets for Phoenix include Patrick Beverley, Cory Joseph, and Spencer Dinwiddie.

Injury Notes: F. Jackson, Butler, Harris, Barea

Pelicans rookie Frank Jackson is making progress after having his third surgical procedure in 11 months, relays Christian Boutwell of The Advocate. The most recent operation, performed March 19, was follow-up surgery on his right foot to take out scar tissue left over from previous surgeries. Jackson was in New Orleans for tonight’s game and offered an update on his condition.

“Feels great. I’m already walking,” he said. “I’m like two weeks out of surgery. I’m walking. I’m in a boot for another week and then I’ll be out of that. My pain’s completely gone. That’s why I did it. Just taking care of it now.”

A second-round pick out of Duke, Jackson had a stress reaction in his foot that caused him to miss the summer league, then fractured it in late August. Jackson said he is hoping to be ready for summer league this year.

There’s more injury news from around the league:

  • It appears the Timberwolves and Nuggets will both be missing key players for tomorrow night’s showdown in Denver. Jimmy Butler is listed as doubtful for Minnesota as he tries to come back after surgery to fix a torn meniscus, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague are both questionable. Denver guard Gary Harris will miss the game as he continues to rehab a right knee injury, according to Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune (Twitter link).
  • Mavericks guard J.J. Barea left tonight’s game after suffering a left oblique strain, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. With just three games remaining, it’s possible that Barea’s season is over.
  • Nets forward DeMarre Carroll has a strained left hip and will be day-to-day for the rest of the season, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic.
  • Magic forward Jonathon Simmons may miss the rest of the season with a badly bruised right wrist, according to John Denton of Simmons sat out his eighth straight game tonight and is upset about not being able to play after signing a three-year, $18MM contract last summer. “My disappointment is about my love for the game and not wanting to let these guys down under the circumstances,” he said. “I’d love to be out there fighting with these guys, and the most disappointing part is not being able to be out there with my teammates.’’

Northwest Notes: Teague, Butler, Shabazz, Millsap

If the Timberwolves want to continue their winning ways while All-Star Jimmy Butler is sidelined, point guard Jeff Teague must continue to play with pace and aggression, opines Britt Robson of The Athletic Minnesota.

Despite an apparent tendency and preference to let his teammates get involved as playmakers, Teague no longer has that luxury, at least for the time being, with Butler out of the equation. Teague must also continue to push the pace of play, as he has done in the team’s last two games.

In fact, in the team’s first full game since Butler’s injury, Minnesota launched a season-high 35 three pointers, primarily a product of Teague’s ability to  get into the half-court offense quickly, beat defenders off the dribble, and present a viable threat to score at the rim or kick it out to the perimeter for a shot or extra pass.

As head coach Tom Thibodeau described, “We have to make sure we get to the right spots so we can get that pass out. And once you get that pass out, usually the second pass will get you a great shot.” 

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves‘ reserve guard Shabazz Muhammad is not likely to be bought out after all, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. When asked about the possibility, Thibodeau simply said, “Nope, we like the team we have.”
  • In a piece for The Athletic Minnesota, Jon Krawczynski details Butler’s decision to have surgery on his damaged right meniscus. Fortunately for Butler and the Timberwolves, the procedure was neither a major repair nor a removal, and the hope is that he will be able to return to action without facing some of the long-term risks involved with removal.
  • With last night’s loss to the Clippers, the Nuggets have fallen to ninth place in the Western Conference, percentage points behind the Clippers, who now also own the the head-to-head tiebreaker between the two teams. Part of the problem recently is Denver’s defense, reports Gina Mizell of The Denver Post. Head coach Mike Malone is particularly frustrated, saying the recent struggles defensively have left him “questioning (his) whole being as a coach.”
  • In brighter news for the Nuggets, forward Paul Millsap played last night for the first time since he injured his left wrist on Nov. 19.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Thunder, Teague, Wolves

The Jazz‘s decision to trade Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson in deadline deals last week signaled that neither of those players was part of Utah’s plans going forward. Still, there were no hard feelings in either case, as Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News details. Speaking last week about the two veteran wings, general manager Dennis Lindsey said Johnson had become a “folk hero around here,” and added that the team has “great respect” for Hood.

“I told Rodney that I hope I see a playoff game on ABC where Rodney Hood hits a game-winning shot,” said the Jazz GM. “That would tickle me. So we’re rooting for him, we care about him and we wish him the best and we thank him for not only the efforts that he gave us the last four years but the player that he was able to return to us in Jae Crowder.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest division:

  • The Thunder have yet to establish a permanent starting five since Andre Roberson went down with his season-ending knee injury last month, and it sounds like the lineup tinkering will continue, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. “I don’t want to say it’s going to be different night to night,” said head coach Billy Donovan. “But yeah, it could change in certain situations based on what’s best for our team.”
  • With so many scorers on the Timberwolves‘ roster, Jeff Teague has found himself playing a facilitator role more often this season after signing with the team last summer. The veteran point guard, whose 12.7 PPG is his lowest mark in six years, admits that new approach has taken some getting used to. “It’s just not how I play,” said Teague, per Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. “But someone has to make a sacrifice, and it was me.”
  • Michael Rand of The Star Tribune identifies five veteran free agents or buyout candidates who could be of interest to the Timberwolves.

Northwest Notes: T. Jones, Mitchell, Jefferson, Huestis

Timberwolves point guard Tyus Jones played well when Jeff Teague was sidelined with a sprained knee ligament, but there’s no thought about making him the starter, relays Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. Jones ranks in the top five in the league in assists and steals per turnover and is number one in defensive real plus-minus. Still, coach Tom Thibodeau trusts Teague, who was one of Minnesota’s prize offseason additions, and won’t consider a change.

“Jeff has been around a long time, and Jeff has done a lot of winning,” Thibodeau said. “That’s probably the most important thing.”

There’s more today from the Northwest Division:

  • Rookie guard Donovan Mitchell has become the MVP for the Jazz in a difficult season, according to Mike Sorensen of The Deseret News. The 13th overall pick is leading all rookies in scoring at 18.8 points per game and has four 30-point performances already. Utah was focused primarily on Mitchell’s defensive prowess when it acquired him in a draft-night trade with the Nuggets, so the scoring has been a pleasant surprise. In his other midseason ratings, Sorensen picks Ricky Rubio as the team’s most disappointing player and Royce O’Neale as the most pleasant surprise.
  • The Nuggets plan to use veteran forward Richard Jefferson as part of their rotation for the rest of the season, tweets Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports. Coach Michael Malone said he wants to see “what we have” in the 37-year-old, who has been playing about eight minutes per night and is averaging 1.6 points through 13 games.
  • After spending most of his first two seasons in the G League, Josh Huestis may have found a role with the Thunder, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. Terrance Ferguson has taken over as the starting shooting guard with Andre Roberson injured, but coach Billy Donovan has turned to Huestis as a late-game defensive stopper. Huestis, who played just seven combined NBA games during his first two years in the league, is enjoying the opportunity. “It comes down to defense,” he said.

Jeff Teague Out Indefinitely With Sprained Left Knee

5:40pm: The team is hopeful that Teague will return in 2-4 weeks, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

DECEMBER 28th, 1:38pm: Timberwolves point guard Jeff Teague injured his left knee chasing a loose ball in Wednesday’s win over the Nuggets and will be out indefinitely, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Teague underwent an MRI that revealed no structural damage but he was diagnosed with a sprained left knee, per Wojnarowski.

Teague, 29, has been solid for Minnesota in the first season of a three-year, $55MM pact he signed in the offseason. Through 31 games, Teague has averaged 13.4 PPG and 7.8 APG. In Teague’s absence, the Wolves are likely to rely on backup Tyus Jones to fill in a point guard, Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune writes.

“As always, it’s whatever the team needs me to do,’’ Jones said on Wednesday after Minnesota’s overtime victory. “I’m hoping Jeff is all right. You never want to see anyone go out with an injury. But it’s the next man up. I’m ready to help this team in any way.’’

Jones, 21, filled in for Teague earlier this season and has played well in 35 games, averaging 4.1 PPG and 2.6 APG. The Wolves also figure to rely more on Aaron BrooksJamal Crawford, and Jimmy Butler to handle guard responsibilities in Teague’s absence.

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

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 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.