As of yet, the Indiana Pacers haven’t been able to catch a break this offseason. They’ve likely lost a superstar forward in Paul George, and it appears that the team could face another significant blow as the 2017 NBA Free Agency period kicks off tonight at midnight.
Jeff Teague’s tenure in Indiana could end up being much shorter than expected, as the 29-year-old guard has convinced teams that he is “committed” to singing with the Minnesota Timberwolves as a free agent.
The Knicks have abandoned their hopes of meeting with Jeff Teague, league sources say, convinced Teague has already committed to Minnesota— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 30, 2017
The Knicks and Teague allegedly had a ‘mutual’ interest earlier in the week, but the Knicks, according to Stein, perhaps opted out of a meeting after learning of Teague’s desire to play in the Twin City.
The Pacers acquired Teague through a three-team trade last summer with one year remaining on his contract. Teague started in all 82 games for Indiana last season, averaging 15.3 points and 7.8 assists while shooting 44-percent from the floor.
Teague having a heavy interest in signing a deal with the Timberwolves makes perfect sense. Minnesota recently traded for Jimmy Butler to pair with Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns — a young core that could quickly climb the ranks of the Western Conference. The Timberwolves also traded point guard Ricky Rubio to the Utah Jazz earlier today, which Teague would be a viable replacement to the somewhat inconsistent Rubio.
It’s also wroth noting that the Pacers are in the midst of finding a suitor for a Paul George trade after he informed the team that he would not return after his contract expires in 2018. By staying in Indiana, Teague would find himself on a Pacers team that is likely to not make much noise for the next year or two. He would also likely command a much-richer contract than what the Pacers could afford to offer him. Rather, team president Kevin Pritchard can use that extra money in trying to acquire young, viable talent as he attempts to revamp the current roster. It’s a win-win for both parties.
While nothing is official until the clock strikes midnight tonight, it still certainly isn’t a good sign for the Pacers to likely lose two starting players in just as many weeks.