Earlier this morning, The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski confirmed what many of us had already expected:
Jeff Teague has decided to exercise his $19 million player option for next season, league sources tell @TheAthleticMIN.— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) April 12, 2019
While many in Wolves nation were secretly hoping that Jeff would possibly opt out and explore free agency, this latest news from Jonny K is hardly surprising. Teague is coming off quite possibly his most disappointing season as a pro, missing 40 games with nagging foot and ankle injuries (for comparison, Teague had only missed 68 total games in his previous 9 seasons combined, and only 29 games over the last 6 years). Simply put, very few players in Teague’s position would turn down $19 million in the first place, and when you factor in the injury issues, the decision to opt in was a no-brainer.
While the overall opinion on Teague can greatly vary from one Wolves fan to another, it’s hard to argue that Teague is a talented starting PG who has won everywhere he played (this was Teague’s first season missing the playoffs since he entered the league back in 2009). Now, does he fit on this current roster better than a player like Tyus Jones? That is far more debatable, but for now, the Wolves will have to operate under the impression that Teague will be returning for one more season. Of course, a LOT can change between now and training camp. In my opinion, while still talented and productive, the Wolves would be better suited moving on from Teague and solving their PG issue with a combination of Tyus Jones and/or a rookie from the upcoming draft.
Is $19 million dollars a lot for a player like Teague? Of course, but it will be much easier to unload a deal like his than say, a contract like Andrew Wiggins or Gorgui Dieng (more money, more problems). As is the case every summer, multiple teams are going to strike out on their first and second choices when July 1 rolls around, and teams like the Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks, Utah Jazz, and Washington Wizards could all be in the market for a short-term serviceable starting PG. We shall see.
But for now, this is just another step in the order of operations. With a little more clarity surrounding their upcoming financial situation, it’s now up to Glen to find the right decision-maker to start moving pieces around to strengthen this team’s chances going forward.