Jeff Teague

Wolves Rule Out Covington, Rose, Teague For Season

Robert Covington, Derrick Rose, and Jeff Teague won’t play again for the Timberwolves this season, the club announced today in a press release.

Covington, who hasn’t played for Minnesota since December 31 due to a right knee bone bruise, recently suffered a setback in his rehab process, per the Wolves. The veteran wing will require additional treatment before returning to the court, so the club will plan on getting him back for the 2019/20 season.

As for Rose, the former MVP had already missed four games due to soreness and swelling in his right elbow. An MRI taken this week revealed a chip fracture and a loose body in that elbow, which will sideline Rose for the season. He and the Wolves are weighing treatment options for the injury.

Teague, meanwhile, has also missed Minnesota’s last four games due to a left foot injury. He received an injection designed to treat chronic inflammation and will wear a boot, according to the team. The Wolves added that he’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks, which means he’ll miss the rest of the season too.

While Covington – a key piece in the package for Jimmy Butler this season – figures to remain a part of the Wolves’ core for the next few years, it’s possible Rose has played his last game for the team. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and is expected to draw interest around the league after a nice bounce-back season in which he averaged 18.0 PPG and 4.3 APG on .482/.370/.856 shooting in 51 games (27.3 MPG).

Teague’s place in Minnesota’s future is somewhat unclear. He has one more year left on his current contract, but may not be in the club’s long-term plans. It’s possible that the Wolves will look to shed his $19MM salary for 2019/20 this summer.

With Covington, Rose, and Teague out and Taj Gibson and Luol Deng also banged up, the Timberwolves will lean on Karl-Anthony Towns and their youngsters down the stretch — Tyus Jones, Andrew Wiggins, Josh Okogie, Dario Saric, Keita Bates-Diop, and Cameron Reynolds all figure to see plenty of action.

Trade Rumors: Davis, Randolph, Wolves, Morris

The Knicks and Lakers are equal on Anthony Davis‘ list of preferred destinations, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. The Clippers and Bucks also remain in the top four, Stein adds. New York may make a bid for Davis before the deadline, but it should be in a stronger position after the draft lottery when everyone knows where its first-rounder will fall (Twitter link).

League sources tell Stein that Davis doesn’t expect to sign his next contract before he reaches free agency in 2020, no matter where he is by then (Twitter link). That means anyone who trades for Davis won’t be assured of a long-term extension.

He has been sidelined with a fractured left index finger, but Davis intends to resume playing regardless of what happens at the trade deadline (Twitter link). He has received medical clearance to return to action, but the Pelicans haven’t divulged their plans for Davis if there’s no trade on Thursday. He was held out of two games this week to avoid further injury.

Here’s a roundup of rumors heading into the trade deadline:

  • The Lakers are running out of hope that a Davis trade will be completed before the deadline, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Pelicans GM Dell Demps hasn’t responded to Magic Johnson’s latest offer, and it appears New Orleans is content to run out the clock. The Pelicans may never have been serious about dealing with L.A. and might have been trying to sabotage the Lakers as revenge for what they consider to be tampering, tweets Rachel Nichols, host of ESPN’s “The Jump.” “It’s not just possible, it’s what happened,” colleague Brian Windhorst said today in an appearance on the show.
  • The Mavericks will have buyout talks with newly acquired Zach Randolph, Wojnarowski tweets. The 37-year-old hasn’t played yet this season, but he may be able to help a contender.
  • The Timberwolves continue to look for someone to take Jeff Teague and Gorgui Dieng, sources tell Chris Hine of The Star-Tribune. Teague has a $19MM player option for next season, while Dieng still has two seasons left on his four-year, $63MM deal. Minnesota hasn’t found much interest, but it may be willing to attach Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, Anthony Tolliver or Luol Deng as incentives.
  • New Pelican Markieff Morris could become a buyout candidate once he’s fully recovered from a neck injury, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
  • The Thunder plan to watch what the Suns do with Wayne Ellington and may be interested if he hits the buyout market, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (Twitter link).

Trade Rumors: Wolves, A. Davis, Irving, Conley, More

After making a big splash earlier in the season by sending Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia, the Timberwolves remain active on the trade market, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, who reports that GM Scott Layden is “canvassing the league for available deals.” Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News relays a similar sentiment, tweeting that Layden has been “much more communicative” than in past years.

According to Wolfson, players on expiring contracts are available, as are Jeff Teague and Gorgui Dieng. However, as of Tuesday, there was “zero sense” that anything was close to getting done. Meanwhile, sources tell Krawczynski that multiple teams checked in last month on Andrew Wiggins to see if the Timberwolves might be willing to move him for “pennies on the dollar.” Those inquires qualified more as due diligence though, and didn’t really go anywhere, per Krawczynski.

Here are several more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Pelicans still have yet to respond to the Lakers‘ most recent trade offer for Anthony Davis, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). L.A. reportedly pulled out of talks on Tuesday after making a big offer on Monday night, though it appears the club would be ready to re-engage if New Orleans makes a counter-offer.
  • While Kyrie Irving‘s comments on his upcoming free agency last week had some league observers wondering if the Celtics would consider moving him at the trade deadline, the team – unsurprisingly – has no intention to do so, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. “Boston’s not taking calls on Kyrie,” one general manager said. “That was made pretty clear.”
  • The Grizzlies are believed to be seeking multiple first-round picks in any package for Mike Conley, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. According to Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune, the Jazz’s final offer to Memphis was a first-round pick, a second-round pick, and expiring contracts (likely Ricky Rubio and Derrick Favors). The Grizzlies asked for Dante Exum, but were told no, per Jones (Twitter link via John Martin of 92.9 ESPN).
  • A source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times that the Bulls have received “a handful” of calls about Jabari Parker within the last week. Parker is a candidate to be traded, or to be bought out if Chicago can’t find a suitable deal.
  • According to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), the Hawks have started to receive more calls on veteran trade candidates Kent Bazemore, Dewayne Dedmon, and Jeremy Lin. Smith adds (via Twitter) that Knicks forward Noah Vonleh is another trade candidate to watch, as he has generated multiple inquiries.

Latest On Tom Thibodeau, Wolves

Contrary to a report that emerged last night in the wake of Tom Thibodeau’s firing in Minnesota, former Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg is not an “immediate candidate” to become the team’s next coach or president, a source tells Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

Interim coach Ryan Saunders will be given an opportunity to earn the job on a permanent basis, Krawczynski adds, and he has strong support from his players, who respect his work ethic and welcome his approachable nature as a change from Thibodeau. The organization will consider hiring an assistant who has experience as a head coach to help Saunders with the challenges of his new position.

GM Scott Layden was retained last night and will likely remain in place for the rest of the season, but he may need the team to make the playoffs to keep his job beyond that.

While the Wolves have a disappointing 19-21 record, the decision to part with Thibodeau was based on business as much as basketball, Krawczynski writes. The coach had become unpopular with fans, who routinely booed him every time his name was announced in pre-game introductions. Even worse, they were staying away, as Minnesota has dropped to 29th in home attendance after ranking 21st last season. The organization didn’t want to keep an alienating presence in place with a season ticket drive looming.

It’s no secret that owner Glen Taylor was unhappy with Thibodeau and Layden over how they handled the situation with Jimmy Butler before he was traded to the Sixers. Taylor commented several times that he believed both men were dragging their feet on Butler’s trade request and that they let the volatile star hijack the team during training camp and the early season.

Thibodeau has long had a reputation of giving heavy minutes to his starters, and several players complained about poor communication over their roles. Krawczynski reports that Gorgui Dieng, who has fallen out of the rotation after signing a huge contract, was “openly seething” in the locker room after Friday’s game. Tyus Jones, Anthony Tolliver and Jeff Teague have also expressed frustration over their status on the team.

As one of the few remaining coach/executives left in the league, Thibodeau’s standing was also harmed by several personnel decisions that didn’t work out. He was the driving force behind the decision to send Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and a draft pick that turned out to be Lauri Markkanen to the Bulls to acquire Butler. He also convinced Taylor to part with Ricky Rubio in exchange for Teague. And of course, he was responsible for bringing Taj Gibson, Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, his former players in Chicago, to Minnesota to form the “Timber-Bulls.”

Taylor was in Florida last night as Layden and CEO Ethan Casson delivered the news to Thibodeau. Taylor’s only comment came in an official statement from the organization, saying, “These decisions are never easy to make, but we felt them necessary to move our organization forward.”

Atlantic Notes: Butler, Russell, Raptors, Wanamaker

Sixers coach Brett Brown is defending Jimmy Butler, saying he wasn’t disrespectful when he questioned the way he’s being used in the offense, according to an Associated Press story. ESPN reported Friday that Butler has “aggressively challenged” Brown since being acquired from the Timberwolves in November and has “tenuous” chemistry with fellow stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Meeting with reporters before tonight’s game, Brown tried to calm the situation.

“I didn’t feel like any of that crossed the line,” he said of Butler’s comments. “He’s vocal. He’s all in and he has opinions, but it’s instigated by me. None of this should surprise anybody. He’s got opinions. He wants to be heard. And he should be heard.”

Butler missed the game with a respiratory infection and wasn’t available for comment. He reportedly wants to be utilized more often in pick-and-roll situations, which aren’t a standard part of Brown’s offense.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets guard D’Angelo Russell has improved significantly during his second season in Brooklyn, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Russell, who is averaging career highs with 18.2 points and 6.4 assists per game, is headed for restricted free agency this summer but indicated a desire to stay with the Nets. “We’re winning,” he said. “I haven’t won a lot in this league, so for me to get that type of success, I’m going to stick with it.”
  • As Kyle Lowry missed his sixth straight game tonight with back trouble, the Raptors are looking for another playmaker before next month’s trade deadline, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. He states the best target would be the Timberwolves’ Jeff Teague, who isn’t being shopped but has become more expendable with productive seasons from Derrick Rose and Tyus Jones. Other possibilities include the Mavericks’ J.J. Barea or Devin Harris and the Hawks’ Jeremy Lin.
  • Brad Wanamaker was as surprised as anyone when Celtics coach Brad Stevens told him to check in during the first quarter last night, relays Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. It was the 15th game of the season for the 29-year-old rookie, but most of his time has come late in games that were already decided. He responded with a pair of 3-pointers to help Boston build a lead. “The key word is challenging,” Wanamaker said. “I’m just trying to stay mentally prepared. I’m getting a lot of feedback from my family, friends, just saying, ‘Stay ready.’”

Robert Covington To Miss Extended Time

Timberwolves forward Robert Covington has been diagnosed with a bone bruise and will be out for an extended period, head coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters today, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link).

While Thibodeau couldn’t offer a specific timeline for Covington’s potential recovery and return, he added that the Wolves don’t believe surgery will be required, as Krawczynski relays (via Twitter).

The Timberwolves are set to get Jeff Teague back in their lineup, but losing Covington is a tough blow for the team, which had initially experienced a bit of a resurgence after acquiring him and Dario Saric from Philadelphia in November’s Jimmy Butler blockbuster. Minnesota is still just 17-21, 13th in the West and four games out of a playoff spot, and will now be without its best perimeter defender for the next little while, further reducing the club’s chances of earning a postseason spot.

If the Wolves continue to slip further out of the playoff race, it will be interesting to see what they do at next month’s trade deadline. The club has reportedly tried to move Gorgui Dieng, and veterans on expiring contracts like Taj Gibson, Jerryd Bayless, and Anthony Tolliver may also be expendable. Teague, who has a $19MM player option for next season, could be a trade candidate too. None of those players would bring back a substantial return, however.

Northwest Notes: Roberson, Teague, Adams

While the Thunder have gotten off to a strong start, they would surely love to have Andre Roberson back in the lineup. Roberson has had several setbacks in his recovery from the ruptured left patellar tendon he suffered nearly a year ago. However, as Erik Horne reveals for The Oklahoman, Roberson has stayed active during his recovery and has led some defensive film sessions with the team’s young wing players.

Most notably, Terrance Ferguson has benefited the most from these film sessions, as he has stepped up to a bigger role in the starting lineup as a result of his much-improved defense. Led by quality defenders such as Paul George and Steven Adams, the Thunder have length and versatility throughout their number-one ranked defense.

The Thunder have been below average offensively this season, which highlights how much of their success is derived by their defense. And even when Roberson can’t play, he is still making his mark on the defense.

There’s more from the Northwest division:

  • Erik Horne also details Steven Adams‘ case for being an All-Star this season, highlighted by the advanced metrics that paint the picture of Adams being one of the best centers in the league. However, as Horne also points out, Adams isn’t focused on being an All-Star.
  • Unfortunately for the Timberwolves, they will continue to be without starting point guard Jeff Teague for another 7-10 days, according to Alan Horton (via Twitter), the radio voice of the Wolves. The Timberwolves have struggled in recent games as they continue to adjust to life without Jimmy Butler.
  • Speaking of the Timberwolves, Chris Hine of The Star Tribune writes that Derrick Rose has struggled with an ankle injury and could miss some time, which would leave the Wolves short at point guard as they look to bounce back from recent losses.

Timberwolves’ Jeff Teague To Miss At Least One More Week

The Timberwolves will be without point guard Jeff Teague for at least another 7 to 10 days as he deals with a left ankle injury, according to Chris Hine of the Star Tribune. Minnesota has been without Teague since last Saturday when the pain of the injured ankle became too significant, Hine writes.

“It was tough, just trying to fight through it,” Teague said. “That last game in Phoenix, I just couldn’t move. The pain was just too bad. Just trying to do some things to get right.”

Teague said he originally injured the ankle on Nov. 12, the same game he came back from a six-game absence dealing with a left knee contusion. In 23 games this season, Teague has averaged 11.6 PPG and a career-high 8.3 APG for the Timberwolves.

In his absence, Minnesota has been more reliant on Derrick Rose, who’s in the midst of a renaissance year. Rose is averaging 18.6 PPG, his highest total since the 2012-13 season, and shooting a career-best 46.9% from three-point range.

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 RealGM.com 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.